Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving is almost certain to enter free agency next summer. In this picture, Irving #11 poses for a photo during a photo shoot on Boston Celtics media day in Canton, Massachusetts, Sept. 24, 2018. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Kyrie Irving has reiterated his love for Boston, which is another sign that he could remain with the Celtics in the long-term despite being in the final year of his contract with the team.

The point guard’s future has been a constant topic of speculation after he declined to sign a new deal this summer. Irving is almost certainly going to enter free agency next summer and a number of teams have been linked with a move for the 2016 NBA champion.

The Celtics guard began his recent love-in with Boston during the Celtics media day before the start of pre-season when he said there is no reason to leave the city or the franchise. It was the first time Irving addressed his future after months of speculation about a potential departure next summer with the New York Knicks being touted as the favorites to land the five-time All-Star.

Irving admits being an unrestricted free agent is “pretty awesome” but made it clear that even if he thinks about moving, it will not be because of the remuneration on offer, but about where he will be happy and which place will have the right atmosphere to help him grow.

And the Celtics point guard sees no better place than Boston to continue his journey. He has already praised the potential of the young players on the roster and is happy they are building a team that can challenge for the title not only in the present but also in the future.

“To be in a position to even be considered a franchise free agent is pretty awesome,” Irving said, according to Real GM. “At this point in my career, it’s not so much about the money, it’s not so much about the extra-curricular things, it’s like OK, where am I happy? Where am I most comfortable? Who’s going to give me that [atmosphere] where I would love to grow as a human being?”

“I spent more time with my teammates than I do with my family and you want to be in a place where thinking about starting over again, obviously that’s what the thing you think about," he said.

“You think, ‘what about a new location?’ and it’s just like I want to be comfortable and what’s better than being in Boston? This year has felt much different because of the environment that has been created for me and by me and going to the new practice facility. There’s nothing like playing at TD Garden,” the five-time All-Star added. “I didn’t say that to appease you guys. I actually love Boston.”

Irving’s recent comments are all pointing toward the point guard re-signing with the Celtics once he enters free agency in 2019. That will also allow him to earn significantly higher than he would have if he signed a new deal this year.