Lucky the Leprechaun’s grandest foe and Beantown’s enemy No. 1 could once again be on the move. Can’t Knock the Hustle author Matt Sullivan recently joined the Celtics Lab podcast where he disclosed a “little news” regarding Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving.
Essentially, Irving’s slew of escapades throughout his second season in Brooklyn has apparently rubbed some the wrong way in the Nets building — including ownership. So, while one would expect general manager Sean Marks to build around the likes of Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden this season, Sullivan hinted at the possibility of a “Big Three” breakup in the Nets’ near future.
Here’s the entirety of Sullivan’s excerpt regarding Irving’s standing within the team’s organization:
Let me give you guys a little news, I’m not sure that’s been out there. I’ve heard that Nets ownership was quite upset with Kyrie’s ‘pause,’ especially that maskless party that turned his psuedo-paternity leave into more like a COVID suspension. And in the last week I’ve heard rumblings – whispers, really, because cracking the Nets is kind of like breaking into the Kremlin, that Brooklyn GM Sean Marks would maybe, possibly, apparently be willing to at least listen to a trade offer for Kyrie this offseason.
Now, I’m not sure what the market for Kyrie is at this point. It’s not like Ben Simmons giving you the headache on the court. It’s that complex personality that comes from off the court. I think it’s been annoying some people in the franchise. I can’t speak to his teammates, who obviously want to play with one of the world’s best and get him back there.
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Irving’s Logo Incident Highlights Celtics’ ‘Eroding’ Culture?
Irving, who played for the Celtics for two seasons from 2017-2018, has been a lightning rod for controversy since his exit from Boston. The seven-time All-Star made waves in the Nets-Celtics first-round playoff series where he insinuated that he had been the victim of racism while playing in Boston.
Irving was later at the forefront of an incident during Game 4 of the series, where he was spotted stomping on the Celtics’ team logo. While Irving’s actions led to a fan tossing a water bottle at his head while he attempted to exit the court, Celtics players’ lack of response to Irving’s actions apparently left much to be desired from within the organization, per The Athletic’s Jared Weiss.
Despite the continuity in leadership, several team sources suggest the Celtics’ culture of competition is eroding — with more than one source pointing to the players’ perceived indifference toward Kyrie Irving stomping on the Celtics logo after the final home game of the season as a red flag they did not exhibit the same sense of pride in the organization that has been the Celtics’ calling card in years past.
Brad Stevens Talks Kemba Walker Trade
Upon Irving’s exit from Boston in 2019, the Celtics pulled off a sign-and-trade with the Charlotte Hornets to yield the services of yet another All-Star point guard, Kemba Walker. Yet, despite an All-Star berth during his inaugural season with the Celtics, injuries and an excessive salary led to the team recently dealing the veteran guard in a pre-combine trade — a challenging first-move for Brad Stevens as president of basketball operations.
“The most challenging part is being in that seat and having to make that call and ultimately say, ‘Yeah, we’re going to do that,’ when you’re talking about a guy like Kemba,” Stevens said, via The Athletic. “Again, coached him for two years, have nothing but great things to say about him and really good teammate, really good player, really good person, easy to be around every day. I think that’s what made it the most difficult part of it, obviously.”