MILWAUKEE — Kyrie Irving on Wednesday had no intention of explaining the viral video of his pregame conversation with fellow impending free agent Kevin Durant prior to last Sunday’s All-Star Game.
In the video, an animated Irving is seen talking to Durant in the tunnel before both took the floor. Over the past few days, social media sites have been spreading the video, with followers attempting to read Irving’s lips to determine what he was telling Durant, who was pacing back and forth in front of Irving.
There has been speculation that the Knicks will go after both players with maximum free agent contracts this summer. Neither Irving nor Golden State’s Durant have said definitively that they will return to their respective teams.
When asked about the video after Wednesday’s practice at Marquette University, Irving appeared offended to even being asked about a personal conversation and was visibly irritated by the Internet speculation.
“I don’t dissect [the speculation] at all, I disconnect,” he said. “So anybody’s stories or social media, I’m completely off it. I just don’t have the care for it. It ruins locker rooms. It ruins confidence in people and it’s just a fictitious way of feeling validated in the world. So, it really doesn’t matter to me.”
Irving became more irritated when asked if he wanted to cool any free agent speculation concerning the conversation.
“I don’t have a private life when I’m out there in the NBA,” he said. “Somebody wants to take a video, it is what it is. Pour water on [the speculation]? I’m a human being talking to another best friend of mine. It’s just crazy.
“This is the stuff that just doesn’t make the league fun. Nobody helps promote the league by doing [expletive] like that. Just fictitious, putting things on like what we’re talking about, it’s crazy. I guess that’s what you want, huh?”
When told the rumors were spreading over the Internet, Irving said, “Is the Internet real for you in your life? It’s my life, right? It’s two people talking, having a conversation. If this was the real world, would it be anybody else’s business? It’s a video of somebody assuming what we’re talking about, making an opinion about it. So, why would I care about it? Why does that have an impact on my life? Why are you asking me those types of questions? About cooling [rumors] off? I don’t get it.”
When a reporter said NBA fans in general, and Celtics fans specifically, were interested in the conversation, Irving said, “Oh, the fans? It’s about the fans? OK, so you write for the fans? That’s where we started the conversation, what I do in my life is my business. So, it’s none of yours, none of anybody’s business, right? So it’s a video of me and one of my best friends talking. And then it turns out to be a dissection of a free agency meeting?
“Do you get that? And I’m asked questions about it? That’s what disconnects me from all that [expletive]. Because I have connection to that, over a video? You brought up the fans.
“Come on man, you do it for the likes and clicks, everybody does. Everybody wants to hear me talk like this. Everybody wants to actually talk about [expletive]. A video, though? To pour water on [speculation]? Makes no sense. It’s not real life. Not real.”
Hayward day to day
Coach Brad Stevens said forward Gordon Hayward is “day to day” and questionable for Thursday’s game against the Bucks because of a sprained right ankle, suffered while playing one on one with Semi Ojeleye at the team’s practice facility in Brighton on Tuesday. Gordon dislocated his left ankle in October 2017 and missed the rest of that season.
Stevens said that if Hayward doesn’t play against the Bucks, he could return in either of the last two games of the trip (at Chicago Saturday, at Toronto Tuesday). Meanwhile, Aron Baynes (foot), who has missed the last six games, will not play on the trip and hasn’t been cleared to practice.
Baynes’s injury could speed up the need for another big man. The Celtics have one remaining roster spot.
Mr. Vice President
Third-year forward Jaylen Brown was named one of the vice presidents of the NBA Players Association. At 22, he’s the younger member of the executive committee.
“I didn’t really have the expectation level,” he said. “I know I set a goal and I knew I was going to get to the goal at some point, I just didn’t know when. I guess it’s surprising that it came so fast, but pretty cool at the same time.”