Kyrie Irving acknowledged he's aware of rumors centered on the possibility he would like to team up with Jimmy Butler in 2019 free agency, but denied the veracity of those reports.

Irving said the last time he spoke at length with Butler was when both played for USA Basketball and the two engaged in a spitballing sessions along with Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins about what the future held for them.

"And that," Irving laughed, "was in 2016."

Irving spoke up his optimism for the Boston Celtics.

"Who wouldn't want to be a part of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum and Al Horford and Gordon Hayward? People keep saying, 'Why won't he commit to Boston?'

"Well, there are financial implications involved."

Irving would have left more than $80 million on the table had he signed an extension this offseason.

"I'm accepting it's going to be a constant story," Irving shrugged. "It's a point in my professional career where it is a big-time decision. I've been away from Cleveland officially for a year now, and I'm finally getting acclimated in Boston.

"Last year it was almost like a trial. There was a lot going on. It was overwhelming at times, to be honest. The focus needed to be directed on getting better and helping my new team win a championship, instead of focusing on all the outside noise [regarding his departure from Cleveland] that affected me personally.

"I was afraid to admit that initially, because I wanted to be prideful and handle everything. So, it's been a matter of figuring it out and growing.

"It only affects me when it affects my teammates. I keep them abreast of everything. We need to be communicating like that, because there are very few years where you get a chance to be a championship team -- unless you are Golden State."