Well that escalated quickly. Celtics fans have gone from a future that revolved around the basketball brilliance of Kyrie Irving to… who knows what anymore?
A whirlwind week that began with a prominent Celtics Insider (Mike Gorman) casting doubt on Irving’s future with Boston, and ended with Irving giving an interview where he basically said he doesn’t have any idea where he’ll be playing hoops after next season.
Matt Moore aka: Hardwood Paroxysm was a guest on the Celtics Beat Podcast with Adam Kaufman on CLNS Media this week and Moore says we all may have erred in thinking we had Irving figured out.
“We can’t really pretend to understand Kyrie Irving,” said Moore. “And that’s something that I think we tend to overvalue is how much we can anticipate.”
The Celtics are in a pretty tricky position vis a vis Irving. If he does want to remain in Boston the Celtics have to determine whether they want to sign a player with multiple knee surgeries under his belt to a Max deal. But even if the Celts do feel confident about Irving’s health they have no assurances he wants to stay in Boston long term and no insurance if he decides to leave.
“This is a guy that literally said, ‘I don’t want to compete for championships with the greatest player in a generation.’ He walked away from LeBron James. And you can talk about how much sense it made, and the bravery of that decision, and betting on yourself, and valuing what you want in life,” Moore told Kaufman. “At the same time he walked away from LeBron James. He made that decision. And anybody who does that is thinking so far outside the box that I think it’s difficult to predict what they’re going to say.”
Many who watched the Celtics all season believed that Kyrie fit in well in Boston, but again no one truly knows how much he liked Brad Stevens democratic offensive system and how much he’ll dig it next year having to share the ball and the spotlight even more.
“Kyrie sacrificed for the first month and then there were a lot of signs that he went back to doing what he does. And Stevens can build around that, and that’ll be fine. And Stevens values what he can do on his own, and that can be fine. But there is a question: Is that what Kyrie wants? Does Kyrie like Boston? Does he like Boston as much as he thought he would? There are all these questions that we don’t have the answers to, and there’s time to figure it out.”
At the end of the day though Moore predicts Irving will remain in Boston.
“I think Kyrie probably stays because [Danny] Ainge did go all out for him. He didn’t go all out for Paul George. He didn’t go all out for Jimmy Butler. He went all out for Kyrie Irving. And I think at some level they’ll be able to build around him to some level that Kyrie wants.”