The Celtics understood the chance they were taking with Kyrie Irving when they traded for him two years ago, writes Jeff Goodman of Stadium. Irving wanted to leave a successful situation in Cleveland because he was tired of playing a supporting role to LeBron James. Boston’s front office knew Irving had a reputation that might make him a tough fit, but was willing to accept the risk.
“Doesn’t want to listen to anybody,” a Cavaliers source told Goodman. “I’ve been around more selfish guys, but when you add up those three – moody, immature and tough to coach – he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.”
There’s speculation that Irving’s time in Boston might be done as he gets ready to opt out of a $21.3MM salary and test the free agent market. If he leaves, his final game in a Celtics uniform will be a 6 for 21 shooting performance in a 25-point loss in Milwaukee.
“Everyone respects his talent,” a Celtics player told Goodman earlier this season, “but he’s hard to play with. It’s all about him.”
There’s more today out of Boston:
- A breakup would be best for both Irving and the Celtics, contends Ben Golliver of The Washington Post. Boston needed to add a star when president of basketball operations Danny Ainge pulled the trigger on the Cleveland deal, but it hasn’t worked out the way he hoped. Facing his first playoff test with the Celtics, Irving wilted badly, playing well in just one of the five games against the Bucks. On top of that, he teammates seemed to take on his personality, pointing fingers at each other throughout the season and not fighting back when things got tough in the playoffs.
- Restricted free agent Terry Rozier didn’t hold back in addressing the issues that affected the team, relays Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. “I sacrificed the most out of anybody,” said Rozier, who was moved to a backup role after a stellar performance in last year’s playoffs. “I’m a top point guard in this league. I feel like it’s a fresh start, whether I’m here or whether I’m gone.” Rozier admitted that coach Brad Stevens was in a difficult position “dealing with all these guys with attitudes” and said he saw warning signs on the first day of training camp.
- The Celtics’ offseason focus will turn not only to Irving, but also to Anthony Davis trade talks, writes Bobby Marks of ESPN. Boston was considered to be the favorite to land Davis once the trade deadline passed, but Marks notes that two important changes have occurred since then. David Griffin has taken over as head of basketball operations in New Orleans and will make an effort to get Davis to reconsider his trade demand, and Irving, who would be a selling point to get Davis to sign a long-term deal in Boston, may be on the way out.