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Kyrie Irving talks about possibility of retiring early


You never know…
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

When you think about how long Kyrie Irving has been playing in the NBA, it’s almost impossible to believe the Cleveland Cavaliers star only recently turned 25. Since he was drafted at age 19, Irving could conceivably play 15 seasons in the NBA before his 35th birthday.

But will he?

In a recent appearance the “Road Trippin’” podcast with Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson, Irving joked about how a friend of his says he should pull a Lauryn Hill. For those who are unfamiliar with her, Hill is an R&B singer who seemingly disappeared at the height of her music career.

We doubt Irving is anywhere close to retirement, but he probably isn’t interested in playing 20 seasons — even if he could do it before turning 40. He is in a perfect situation right now with LeBron James as a teammate, so he’ll likely reevaluate his career when LeBron decides to walk away from basketball.

If and when Irving does decide to call it a career, he may look into becoming an explorer. Those who have heard his views on planet Earth know he has a lot to offer in that department.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER:

20 SLIDES
Top storylines for the NBA Conference Finals


}
,
{
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title: ‘Kevin Durant’s rounding into form at the right time’,
description: ‘

While Kevin Durant has only played in 10 games since April 8 — missing two games in the first-round series against Portland — he seems to be reaching the peak of his powers once again. Against the Utah Jazz in Round 2, Durant had a near triple-double in Game 2 and a superb 38-point, 13-rebound performance in Game 3. A well-rested Durant dropped 34 points in the Game 1 comeback against the Spurs. San Antonio, beware.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images


}
,
{
src: ‘/media/7/e/7ecb920dfec25a82368a3654438535ad5d303829/xl/GettyImages-676879348.jpg’,
title: ‘These playoffs are why Al Horford was paid the big bucks’,
description: ‘

A lot has been said about the Boston center’s big contract, especially after the top-seeded Celtics needed to go six games against Chicago and seven versus Washington in the first two rounds. Yet, his true value isn’t always in scoring, though his playoff points are at his highest since 2013. He’s been a defensive rock all season who also helps the C’s with superb passing for a center thanks to a career-high 5.8 assists per playoff game.

 

Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images


}
,
{
src: ‘/media/1/b/1be5a3166d8c31a53393a1d0593b7537851b96ff/xl/GettyImages-678184112.jpg’,
title: ‘Kawhi Leonard’s ankle injury’,
description: ‘

We’ve seen the brilliance of the San Antonio Spurs during the absence of Kawhi Leonard after an ankle injury in the conference semifinals against Houston. Yet with the ankle getting reinjured in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals thanks to a closeout from Zaza Pachulia, we saw the complete opposite as the Spurs lost a 25-point lead and Game 1. It’s very possible that against the Warriors, Leonard’s ankle could decide the series.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images


}
,
{
src: ‘/media/3/f/3f4d6a469820a9a0e88908565a40ca4c63da882e/xl/GettyImages-680110624.jpg’,
title: ‘Kyrie Irving vs. Boston backcourt should be fun’,
description: ‘

Clearly, LeBron is running the show once again for Cleveland, but in these East Finals, the sixth-year guard from Duke is going to be even more of a focal point because he’ll go against Boston’s backcourt. Irving is going to create a ton of one-on-one situations against standout defender Avery Bradley, but as always, be mindful of how he holds his own defensively against the quick and crafty Isaiah Thomas.

 

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images


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,
{
src: “http://www.yardbarker.com/media/6/3/63dd16da9fc8d6ca34d3e955e52803477db6025c/xl/GettyImages-678942856.jpg”,
title: ‘The Draymond Green experience’,
description: ‘

It’s fair to say that Green tends to get more attention for his opinions (there are many) and his aggressive, perhaps dirty, play than all else he has brought to the table for Golden State. He’s been the Dubs’ most consistent presence in the playoffs on both sides of the floor thanks to strong defense and over seven assists per game to lead the team. Yet, with another technical foul in Game 1 of the West Finals, the Warriors should hope that Draymond’s game speaks louder more than, well, Draymond himself.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images


}
,
{
src: ‘/media/7/a/7a187366faeeb7ec30561ffce5fe505acbe938b1/xl/GettyImages-678035018.jpg’,
title: ‘The resilience of Isaiah Thomas’,
description: ‘

Playing with a heavy heart after the tragic death of his sister in April, the Celtics star has shown to be one of the toughest players in the NBA in these playoffs, both mentally and physically. He continues to pace the team with over 25 points per game while also getting pushed around more against Chicago and Washington. The Cavs will be his hardest on-court challenge, but Thomas continues to play though much tougher circumstances.

 

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images


}
,
{
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title: ‘LaMarcus Aldridge appears, disappears and reappears’,
description: ‘

In two seasons with the Spurs after his time in Portland, Aldridge has shown a tendency to go missing during games but then show up when the team’s proverbial back is against the wall. He was brilliant in to help eliminate the Rockets without Leonard and in the first half of Game 1 vs. Golden State. Yet, he settled for too many jumpers in the second half as the Warriors mounted a comeback. Which LMA will we see going forward?

Kyle Terada/Pool/Getty Images


}
,
{
src: ‘/media/8/a/8a6617ecbcabe1171012ac1c6b85f039c377ba80/xl/GettyImages-675639728.jpg’,
title: ‘Cavs hope to get more out of Kevin Love ‘,
description: ‘

With LeBron and Kyrie having more favorable matchups in the first two rounds, Tyronn Lue said that he wants to get the Cavs’ big man more involved in the offense in this series. Love will be looked upon more for his buckets because the Cavs will face a much better team defense than they did against Indiana and Toronto. Love has averaged 13.8 points and 9.1 rebounds per game in the playoffs after getting 19 points and 11.1 rebounds per game in the regular season.

Jason Miller/Getty Images


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src: ‘/media/2/e/2ec7b6ed877f8e0c3425ccb0a30bea59440ffb19/xl/GettyImages-683085328.jpg’,
title: ‘Steph Curry’s found the rhythm’,
description: ‘

Remember that brief period during the regular season when Stephen Curry seemed to be off his game? Yeah, we don’t either. The two-time reigning MVP has been on fire, averaging 24.5 points per game coming into the Western Conference Finals before dropping 40 on the Spurs in Game 1. Curry, Durant and Green clicking on all cylinders doesn’t seem fair at all for San Antonio.

Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images


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{
src: ‘/media/f/9/f966894b9fd2b402269a3256c0a393f2a855983a/xl/GettyImages-683510374.jpg’,
title: ‘Celtics have strong bench depth’,
description: ‘

Boston’s bench has won quite a few games so far, including the unlikely and incredible 25-point outburst from Kelly Olynyk that eliminated the Wizards in Game 7 of the East semis. Look for Marcus Smart to continue his great postseason, as he’s likely to mix it up with Kyrie and LeBron often late in games. The Celtics have also benefited from good contributions from Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown.

 

Elsa/Getty Images


}
,
{
src: ‘/media/7/b/7bd7717693e0d4a54f58749869ac56a786970392/xl/GettyImages-680799120.jpg’,
title: ‘Spurs will go as far as Patty Mills and Dejounte Murray can take them’,
description: ‘

Not only have the Spurs been dealt a huge blow with Leonard’s injury, but they were already hampered by the loss of Tony Parker during the Western semis. Although Patty Mills has been a strong reserve and is a very good three-point shooter at point guard, losing TP will speak more volumes as the series goes along. Rookie Dejounte Murray will play much more than the Spurs may have planned. It’s a heck of a trial by fire to go against the Warriors’ guards. 

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images


}
,
{
src: ‘/media/3/3/33a606b0bedb5e498742aa90b147bc7fff871323/xl/GettyImages-680742006.jpg’,
title: ‘Cavs hitting from deep can be a bad sign for Boston’,
description: ‘

While LeBron has been lights out all over the court, Cleveland’s offensive system is basically “LeBron, a rebounder and three shooters,” something that was obvious when the Cavs traded for Kyle Korver a few months ago. It seemingly took some time for the former Atlanta Hawks sharpshooter to get going, but against Toronto, you saw the team’s total arsenal in full effect. Korver, Channing Frye and J.R. Smith combined to shoot 53 percent from beyond the arc, including Korver’s 11-for-20, all coming off the bench.  

Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images


}
,
{
src: ‘/media/a/9/a9e5aae952d3d7575c659e4e299368b06cf0602c/xl/GettyImages-683046702.jpg’,
title: ‘Where’s Klay Thompson?’,
description: ‘

It’s almost nitpicking to call out Klay Thompson’s performance in these playoffs, but after a career-best 22.3 points per game in the regular season, he’s averaging a career-low 15 points through eight playoff games. Thompson’s shooting has been sacrificed some because of how well Curry and Durant have been playing, but he still continues to provide solid defense. Yet, if he gets it going through the rest of the West Finals, the Spurs need to get their vacation plans in order, pronto.

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images


}
,
{
src: ‘/media/9/8/9895a7140e8dcf7cd3c224e9bd5a4acd6dccf5cb/xl/GettyImages-683488126.jpg’,
title: ‘Jae Crowder is the most overlooked Celtic’,
description: ‘

It was not too long ago when Boston fans were hoping that Jae Crowder would be traded for Utah’s Gordon Hayward at the trade deadline, greatly upsetting the veteran forward. He’s getting love now as the team’s second-leading rebounder (6.0) and fourth-leading scorer (career-high 13.2) through the playoffs. Even with the chance to add Hayward in the offseason, No. 99 continues to prove his worth in Celtics green.

Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images


}
,
{
src: ‘/media/4/3/43a0862ede2d72241dc9c17beec6f132fc42594b/xl/GettyImages-683096484.jpg’,
title: ‘San Antonio will need some vintage Manu Ginobili’,
description: ‘

Without Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard, there’s no doubt that San Antonio needs Manu Ginobili to drink from the fountain of youth. Though Danny Green, Jonathan Simmons and Patty Mills are solid younger players on offense, Ginobili is the only player not named Leonard or Aldridge who can create his own shot while handing the rock. At 39 years of age, is there a chance we can see a little bit of the Manu of old as opposed to old Manu?

Monica M. Davey/Pool/Getty Images


}
,
{
src: ‘/media/7/b/7b0d49351df6b0e3fe2ae57566ee9e57538b2576/xl/GettyImages-471266144.jpg’,
title: ‘Could bad blood between Celtics, Cavs heat up again in playoffs?’,
description: ‘

The last time these teams faced off in the playoffs was in the first round in 2015. In a Cleveland sweep, Kelly Olynyk became infamous for causing an injury to Kevin Love when diving for the loose ball pictured. Love’s shoulder was dislocated, and he missed months of action, including the 2015 NBA Finals, which the Cavs lost to Golden State. While both are on good terms these days, a shot at the Finals can bring out some old intensities. 

Jim Rogash/Getty Images


}
,
{
src: ‘/media/e/4/e4fad77e813557389cdc5ac49d3dc28a06ef5d16/xl/GettyImages-683085296.jpg’,
title: ‘Zaza Pachulia now public enemy No. 1 in San Antonio’,
description: ‘

After Kawhi Leonard reinjured his ankle after landing on the foot of Zaza Pachulia, the veteran center could be seen by Spurs fans and Warriors haters alike as the reason why San Antonio comes up short of the NBA Finals. You can debate how fair that is, but there’s no doubt that Games 3 and 4 will be just that much more intense when the series shifts to Texas. So much for being the “other guy” who starts alongside Durant, Curry, Thompson and Green.

Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images


}
,
{
src: ‘/media/7/c/7c9d2c01e992692bec311194c51e09e639f13dae/xl/GettyImages-665052886.jpg’,
title: ‘Can the Celtics maintain their homecourt advantage?’,
description: ‘

The Celtics may be the East’s top seed, but they needed six games to dispatch the Bulls and seven to get past the Wizards. Meanwhile, the defending champs have had more practices and days off than playoff games because of how dominant they were in sweeps of Indiana and Toronto. The Celtics would need to play the perfect defense on Cleveland’s red-hot shooters to keep the Cavs from taking either or both Games 1 and 2 in Boston.

Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images


}
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{
src: ‘/media/a/8/a8fcae251dd0623d0b1b07b79b8a3a8969a9d694/xl/GettyImages-630319822.jpg’,
title: ‘Surprising battle of the bench bigs’,
description: ‘

One of the more fun parts of these West Finals will be how both teams utilize their benches, notably how the big men help push the second units. For San Antonio, the bench is more vital now because of injuries, but David Lee and future Hall of Famer Pau Gasol both give quality minutes with their interior games. With the Dubs, you know what you’ll get from one-time Finals MVP Andre Iguodala, but JaVale McGee and David West — who played in Texas last year — have held up well for a Warriors team feared to have lost size before the season began.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images


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Top storylines for the NBA Conference Finals

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