Kyrie Irving downplays Jimmy Butler chatter, sounds upbeat on his future with Celtics

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With plenty of speculation about his future swirling over the past couple months, Kyrie Irving looked to get a little bit ahead of the story with media day looming on Monday. Jackie MacMullan of ESPN.com caught up with the point guard in a recent interview in which Irving addressed his health, rumors around him uniting with Jimmy Butler and the Celtics' outlook for this season and beyond. A few of the more notable quotes from the piece:

On his health heading into training camp: "I'm moving completely differently. I've worked on my strength and have a heightened awareness of what my body needs on a day-to-day basis. I spent all summer trying to get my left leg to catch up with my right. And it's there."

On the C's title chances: "Can we beat Golden State in a seven-game series? Yes ... because of who we have and what we're establishing here, not just for this season, but hopefully for the next few years, something that's pretty special."

On his future in Boston: "Who wouldn't be a part of this? 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 also downplayed rumors swirling around his connection and potential hopes to team up with Butler in the piece, noting that he had not talked at length with the All-Star guard since their time together at USA basketball in 2016.

BSJ Analysis: The summer is full of endless storylines and manufactured angles, which made the smoke swirling around Irving's uncertain future get a little more focus than usual.