Brooklyn Nets’ point guard Kyrie Irving at one point was supposed to be the Boston Celtics’ starting point guard for the foreseeable future.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, Kyrie left Boston for Brooklyn when his contract expired in the Summer of 2019.
Celtics CEO Slams Kyrie Irving’s Departure
Now that the Celtics are spiraling out of control while the Nets are tearing through the league, Celtics’ Governor and CEO Wyc Grousbeck is blaming Irving for Boston’s struggles two years removed from his departure.
“We had hoped Kyrie would stay forever and lead us all the way,” Grousbeck said during a recent appearance on the Felger & Maz Show.
“He’s on maybe the best team in the league right now and so that’s that. That change touched off a lot of stuff because he left, we weren’t maybe able to recruit free agents in the same way and a bit of a domino effect. But it is what it is. We went for it with Kyrie. We had a good year with him. He tried hard and then he moved on,” Grousbeck said.
Kyrie Was Supposed To Be a Long-Term Celtic
Heading into the final year of his contract with the Celtics in the Summer of 2018 Kyrie attended a season ticket holder event at TD Garden and guaranteed fans that he would sign a long-term deal with the Celtics in free agency.
“If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here,” Irving said via USA Today.
The season prior, Irving was out for the entire Celtics playoff run after having season-ending knee surgery. Despite Irving’s absence the Celtics still made it to the Eastern Conference Finals that year and pushed LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to the brink as the series went seven games.
Kyrie and the Celtics Had an Ugly Divorce
Speculation was beginning to surface about whether the Celtics needed Kyrie after such a successful playoff run without him. This reportedly caused a rift between Kyrie and his Celtics teammates.
What was supposed to be a promising season for Kyrie and the Celtics ended in a major disappointment. Boston ended up losing in the second round to the Milwaukee Bucks in five games and the clock began to tick on Irving’s looming free agency.
Although free agency did not officially open until July, Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge was already pre-planning the Celtics’ future before that. Ainge insists that he was aware that Irving was leaving before the playoffs had even started.
“I had a pretty good idea in March or April. Not for sure, though. But I was obviously thinking of moving in a different direction at that point, thinking about different options,” Ainge said via USA Today.
Despite how Kyrie’s exit from Boston went down, it is far-fetched to blame the Celtics’ current struggles on Irving’s departure that happened two years ago. The Celtics have a losing record while Kyrie’s new team is vying for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.