The official end of the Kyrie Irving Boston Celtics saga could finally come in sight. Irving has found his new – and possibly last – home with the Brooklyn Nets and his new co-star Kevin Durant.
Yet the fall of Irving with the Celtics was one of the biggest sports titles of the decade. It is rare for a superstar to make a public commitment to a team for an extended period of time, only to withdraw that statement a few months later.
After Irving’s bold statement in the TD Garden, things went wrong this season. The alleged co-star Gordon Hayward is back in top form after a terrible ankle injury. The two stars should hardly have returned to their roles, but that’s not how the story unfolded. Add to that the fact that there are now too many mouths to feed on the list, and some of the Celts’ problems have gotten even worse.
In any case, this story doesn’t dismiss Irving’s time in Beantown as a bad choice of words on his part.
12. June 2018: Irving beats Boston,contract extension
Irving may have been one of the sports media sweethearts of the time. After the Batman Robin era, he cleared his bad reputation with LeBron James in Cleveland and tried to bring the young Boston core back to the Eastern Conference finals in the hope that it would help them reach the NBA finals.
But before all the moments of lethargy could occur, Irving was faced with a not so simple problem: He was supposed to sign a contract extension with the Celtics this summer. While the Celtic faithful eagerly awaited Irving’s full dedication to their franchise for the next few years, the six-fold All-Star was quickly cutting all that noise by not opting for an extension.
Financially, [expansion] just doesn’t make sense, Irving told reporters in June 2018 through ESPN’s Chris Forsberg.
He didn’t lie to the media. Irving could earn (and has earned) more in 2019 as a free agent. It had to happen, whether it was in Boston or Brooklyn.
14. October 2018: Irving Promises Floor Loyalty
In the 2018-19 season there was a lot of hype around Boston. The young core of Jason Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier in last year’s seven-game series against the Cleveland Cavaliers, one of which finished in the NBA final.
Irving and Hayward will now set the stage perfectly. As the regular season approaches, the Celtics participate in the traditional Fan Night, which is usually held one day before the opening of the season.
When asked how long it would take to play in Boston, Irving stood up and gave an answer that has haunted him ever since:
If you take me back, I intend to sign here again. – @KyrieIrving https://t.co/0wDLzuv5WL
– Boston Celtics (@celtics) 4 October 2018
12. January 2019: Irving invites the youth and the restless
It’s been a few months, and in the beginning it looked like the Celtics were running smoothly. Irving even went so far as to record a Nike commercial with his father about hanging number 11 from the rafters. But most of these activities didn’t last long. The Celtics faced a hurdle in January, and Irving pointed out that his young teammates did not fully understand what it means to be champion.
Kyrie Irving had a lot to say after the game, but what came out was that the youngsters don’t know what it takes to be a team at championship level. Just what you need every day. And if they think it’s hard now, what do they think it will be like when we try to make it to the finals?
– Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) 13 January 2019
The determination of his supporting cast followed a disappointing defeat by Orlando Magic, who ended the match at the last minute. Hayward made a mistake after giving the ball to Tatum instead of Irving, causing Irving to express his frustration on the pitch.
1. February 2019: Put me downJuly
If there are four words that Celtics officials have never wanted to hear from their threatening free agent, it’s ones Irving said a few weeks before the All-Star weekend. Irving waged several media wars after scapegoating young men in the locker room. Anyway, his time as an annoying media official had come.
When the Celtics played the New York Knicks the same day, Irving offered journalists a choice of words about his free desk: Ask me about the first one. July. He followed this simple statement with what can be summed up as his relationship with the media:
Not a lucky guy, @KyrieIrving, as the #Celtics prepare to take 12 random guys in #Knicks uniforms tonight pic.twitter.com/kiDZZBl4xS.
– Chris Sheridan (@sheridanhoops) 1 February 2019
17. February 2019: Kevin Durant enters chat room
Irving kept trying to lead the Celtics in the title battle, but as the All-Star Game of 2019 approached, he took another hard blow. While Irving and Durant had a rather discreet conversation in the arena tunnel before the game, someone was able to record the conversation, which then appeared online.
Video from the All-Star Game – where we were caught in the hallway. Then it turned out we were going somewhere. They didn’t know exactly where it was. But it was somewhere.
[email protected] has worked with Kiri.
About ETC @boardroom
– Jared Gaon (@JaredGaon) 29 September 2020
And although Durant later that year confirmed that they had talked about the merger, it wasn’t long before the Twitter agents started the conversation. Irving, meanwhile, did his best to save Boston’s face, but the writing was already on the wall.
The Celtics ended a disappointing season with a five-game loss to Milwaukee in the second round of the 2019 playoffs, ending Irving’s short tenure in Boston.
Yet Irving has apologized several times since last season, when he was the speaker on Media Day. During the media explosion that followed his grandfather’s death, he admitted that he was in a depression.
However, his relationship with his former teammates seems to be exactly the opposite, as most Celtic players have shown affection for Irving ever since. Moreover, his decision to go to Brooklyn seems to be on the rise so far.
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