The biggest storyline of the NBA summer reached its conclusion recently, when the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers finalized a deal for star point guard Kyrie Irving.
Now that the 25-year-old is a member of the Celtics, he's excited to get started on this new chapter of his stellar career.
After Irving's introductory press conference alongside Gordon Hayward - a top free agency signing by the Celtics this offseason - Irving got his Boston career off to an emotional start.
As you can see in the video below, Irving presents his father with his first Boston jersey, the one that he was holding only moments before during a photo opportunity. Irving can be heard saying "Thank you, dad," as he hands the jersey off:
Irving already seems happy with his new team, something that couldn't be said about his last couple of months in Cleveland, when he was reportedly unhappy about being in the shadow of LeBron James.
During the introductory press conference, Irving said he feels he was meant to come to Boston and can't wait to get to work to turn the Celtics back into a title contender (via Celtics.com):
“I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself,” said Irving. “And when Boston came knocking, I was answering.
“When you have the unique opportunity of having special people and being a part of an organization like this, and they do everything possible to put themselves out there to make such a great thing happen, you’re just appreciative. I’m grateful and I can’t wait to get on the floor and maximize my potential. I just want to be around those incredible coaches and those incredible minds and incredible individuals … Boston came right at the exact time and it was meant to be that way.”
Irving made it to three straight NBA Finals with the Cavaliers, winning the 2016 title, but now will face the challenge of turning the Celtics into a team that can challenge Cleveland's run of Eastern Conference dominance.
Irving said he knows the pressure will fall on both him and Hayward, but said he's excited to see what he can do in Boston this year:
“We’re all in this together and we understand that a lot of responsibility of growing this team and making this team go will predominately be on [Gordon and I],” Irving said. “But at the same time we’re empowering our teammates and elevating them.”
Irving scored a career-high 25.2 points in 72 games last year and added 5.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds a night. As the primary scorer in Boston's revamped offense, he could do even more during the 2017-18 season.