This article isn’t one where I use sources or go off of quotes said by members of the media or whoever. This piece is my personal opinion about why Kyrie Irving will not leave the Boston Celtics. I will follow up on this article with a piece about why I think Kyrie Irving WILL leave Boston as well. So let’s jump right into this.
Why did Kyrie Irving get traded to Boston in the first place? As we all remember back in the summer of 2017, Kyrie Irving was upset with the Cleveland Cavaliers for a few reasons. Trade rumors were being discussed around the NBA Draft, and Kyrie’s name was brought up in those trade talks. Around this time, people were also starting to talk about the upcoming season being LeBron’s last year in Cleveland. And on top of all of this, Kyrie was sick of playing in Lebron’s shadow.
Kyrie didn’t want to be stuck in Cleveland when LeBron was inevitably going to leave in the offseason. Kyrie Irving wanted to be the man on his own team. He wanted to be the leader of his own franchise. As we all know, Kyrie eventually got his wish. Although Boston wasn’t on his list of potential landing spots (Miami, Minnesota, New York, San Antonio), they still had everything Kyrie wanted.
Boston put Kyrie in the best position to be a leader and carry his own team to a championship. Unfortunately, his first season didn’t exactly go as planned when Gordon Hayward went down with a season-ending injury in the first game of the season and then Kyrie himself missed the playoffs with an injury.
Fast forward to this year when the Celtics had a healthy, loaded roster ready to take the league by storm. We all know how that went. Now here we are, debating whether or not Kyrie will be back in Boston. People will make their arguments why he should go elsewhere (like I will in the next article), but here’s why Kyrie Irving shouldn’t even think about leaving Boston.
First off, Kyrie has it made in Boston. He’s the leader of his own team, he doesn’t play in the shadow of another player, and he gets to work with one of the smartest coaches and GMs in the NBA. If Kyrie goes to another team in free agency, that team will not be his. I don’t care where he goes, or what people say: he will not be the team leader if he goes to teams like LA or New York.
If Kyrie Irving goes back to LA, not only will he once again be in the shadow of LeBron James, but he’ll lose the title of being a leader and make himself look like the biggest coward since Kevin Durant went to Golden State.
Speaking of Kevin Durant, if Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant decide to team up in New York, that will be KD’s team, not Kyrie’s. No matter what LeBron tells him, LA will always be LeBron territory. No matter what KD or the media say, New York will always be Durant territory.
If Kyrie stays in Boston and Danny Ainge decides to put another superstar next to him, it will still be Kyrie’s team. If a player like Anthony Davis came to Boston, he wouldn’t be anointed as the new leader of the team or take Kyrie’s place. Danny Ainge would be bringing in Anthony Davis to compliment Kyrie and make the team much, much better. There is nobody that could come to Boston and take that position away from Kyrie.
Let’s talk about this past season and how underwhelming it was. Nobody could understand what was going on with the team. There were locker room issues, people were saying things they probably shouldn’t have to the media, and the team’s play on the court wasn’t as good as they hyped it up to be.
Now since Kyrie is the leader of the Celtics, it’s easy to put all the blame on him. Now I’m not going to sit here and say that Kyrie doesn’t deserve any blame, because he does. But everybody deserves a piece of the blame why this team didn’t reach its expectations. The Celtics’ disastrous season was a team issue, not an issue caused by a single player. Although Kyrie said very questionable things to the media throughout the regular season and playoffs, I don’t think his leadership was the biggest issue.
Smart basketball fans know how good Kyrie is, and I don’t understand why people want Kyrie gone because of comments he made and one lousy playoff series. Did Kyrie prove himself to be a true leader this season? Probably not, but you can’t give up on a player after one true season with a healthy roster. Kyrie still has so much to learn, but why can’t he continue to grow as a leader in Boston?
If you understand basketball, you should know that letting Kyrie walk is taking a step in the wrong direction. This team will still be playoff-contenders, but the team’s ceiling drops dramatically. You need a player like Kyrie Irving to win a championship. I don’t care what people say about him as a person or his attitude. Yes, he had an awful series against Milwaukee, but he’s a top-3 point guard who has been to the NBA Finals for three straight seasons and helped bring the Cleveland Cavaliers their first NBA title.
If we lose Kyrie and bring back Terry Rozier as our starting point guard, I still think our team will be okay. This is where I don’t want people to be confused. We will still be a good team, but once the playoffs come around, we will desperately miss having a superstar who can close games and hit tough shots. I’m not saying that Jaylen or Jayson can’t become that type of player, but we’d have to wait a few years to see that come to fruition.
To wrap this up, Kyrie won’t leave Boston because he has it made here. I believe Boston is the only destination for Kyrie where he can be the leader on a championship-contending team. Boston also gives Kyrie the best chance to win while fulfilling everything that he wants. I can also talk about how much more money Kyrie will make if he stays in Boston, but if I could be honest, I don’t think he cares too much about money in comparison to winning.
Kyrie is the team leader and will continue to be as long as he’s wearing a Celtics’ uniform. Besides, after this postseason, I think Kyrie has something to prove. All this talk about him being a bad leader and wanting out should motivate him to come back next season as the best version of Kyrie Irving we’ve ever seen.
I just hope to God we get to see that version of Kyrie Irving while he’s wearing a Boston Celtics uniform.
Photo: Michael Dwyer/AP