Celtics

Celtics complete comeback vs. Suns; Danny Ainge responds to Terry Rozier rumors

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Celtics complete comeback vs. Suns; Danny Ainge responds to Terry Rozier rumors

1:22 - The Celtics trails by as many as 22 points vs. the Suns, but Kyrie Irving went off and scored 39 points as the C's stormed back to force overtime and eventually win 116-109. Kyle Draper and Chris Mannix break down Kyrie's performance and we hear from Irving himself.

5:47 - On Thursday Danny Ainge discussed the rumors surrounding Terry Rozier being unhappy with his role with the Celtics. Chris Forsberg joins Early Edition to give his take on whether or not there is really an issue with Rozier.

11:16 - Malcolm Butler continues to take the high road when it comes to speaking about the Patriots and his Super Bowl LII benching. Michael Felger and Ben Volin join Early Edition to discuss why Butler refuses to open up or speak negatively about his former team.

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Kyrie Irving: It was 'awesome' to coach Jayson Tatum at All-Star Weekend

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Kyrie Irving: It was 'awesome' to coach Jayson Tatum at All-Star Weekend

Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving was one of the coaches for Team USA in Friday night's 2019 NBA All-Star Rising Stars game in Charlotte, and he seemed to enjoy the experience quite a bit.

Irving did a pretty good job coaching, too, and his Team USA squad came away with a 161-144 win. The opportunity to coach Celtics teammate Jayson Tatum was among the highlights of the night for Irving.

"It was awesome," Irving said Saturday. "I was trying to give (Tatum) the MVP. He had 30 and 9, but (Kyle Kuzma) was just going for it. It was fun to be around those young guys, like I said, but those guys are the future of our league. I'm excited to be kind of in this in-between stage in my career where I get to see them develop as young players, go through, getting extensions, making multiple All-Star Games, striving for their individual goals, but also how they grow in terms of their team environments. So I'm excited."

Irving still has plenty more seasons playing basketball ahead of him, but could coaching be an option for him in the future?

"If I thought about walking away from this game in my early 30s, I definitely wasn't thinking about coaching, but being around the game is something very unique for anybody that has a chance to do it, especially if you have those relationships in the league and they want to keep you around," Irving said Saturday. "They want to have your knowledge be imparted on the next generation. So if that opportunity approaches down the line, if I have to go get my college degree to be an NBA head coach, I will do it."

There have been several NBA head coaches in the last 20 years who were point guards as players, and given Irving's impressive knowledge about the game and his ability to connect with young players, it wouldn't be a shock if he entered the coaching ranks at some point. 

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Could there be a Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving duo... in Boston?

Could there be a Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving duo... in Boston?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Conventional wisdom had us all believing that Kyrie Irving would be using every moment he has this weekend to huddle up with Anthony Davis who like Irving, will be in high demand this summer. 

But as you watched Irving navigate through various All-Star related activities and functions, there was another superstar that Irving seemed to be bonding with quite a bit - Kevin Durant. 

Yes, Kevin Durant of two-time defending NBA champion Golden State who is part of what will be one of the most star-studded free agency classes ever beginning on July 1. 

Despite the success Durant has enjoyed with the Warriors, there is a general consensus among league executives that the perennial All-Star will at least give serious thought to taking his talents elsewhere this summer. 

And among the most talked-about locations for him has been New York, a team that has made no secret about wanting to pair him and potentially Kyrie Irving together which can actually happen now that the Knicks have sliced and diced their payroll to the point where they can absorb a pair of max-salaried contracts this summer. 

All of this follows a logical train of thought on Irving’s intent and motives this weekend … which is why I’m not buying it. 

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If there’s one thing we know about Kyrie Irving, it’s that he operates in a manner that doesn’t necessarily subscribe to traditional or predictable patterns of thought. 

He’s an individual unlike any individual in the NBA, something that can frustrate some while leaving others to sift through his sayings and see that if you dig deep enough you’ll find substance - something you can’t say with any certainty about most NBA players. 

And that substance often comes in the form of something that again, doesn’t necessarily subscribe to conventional wisdom.

So while everyone may see him and Durant bonding as a sign of them looking to take their talents to the Big Apple, should anyone be shocked if Irving might be trying to sell Durant on Boston?

And unlike Davis, Durant (or his people) have consistently shown respect and admiration for the Celtics franchise. 

In fact, it was only a couple years ago when the Celtics were legitimately in the running to land Durant when he was a free agent following his last season with Oklahoma City. 

Durant, fresh off a trip to the Western Conference finals with the Thunder that ended in defeat to the soon-to-be NBA champion Golden State Warriors, had invited five teams for a face-to-face meeting: Golden State, the Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio, Miami and Boston. 

The Celtics’ contingent on the visit included key players and members of the front office, in addition to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady whose legion of fans included Durant. 

As impressed as Durant was with meeting Brady and getting a better sense of what it would be like to be a larger-than-life star in Boston, it didn’t resonate how they had hoped.

“I mean, I love Tom Brady, but I don’t know if he can help me if he was on the court with me right now,” Durant told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic at the time. “I love that people wanted me on their team, but at the same time, I just wanted to hear from the coaches and the players about what they needed or why they wanted me on their team and what I needed to do as a player.”

There’s no way of knowing for sure where the Celtics fell in the ultimate pecking order of those teams that failed to land him then, or where they stand now as Durant will once again hit the free agency market.

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But it’s fair to say that the Celtics have done nothing to hurt their chances at landing him since then, with Boston having split the season series with Golden State each of the last three seasons and will look to do the same when the two meet next month.

Which brings us back to Irving, whose comments earlier this month gave increased optimism that he would seriously consider signing with the New York Knicks this summer, and potentially arrive with a superstar like Durant or Davis. 

As alluring as the bright lights of New York may be, you have to wonder whether they are more focused on winning at the highest levels now versus helping build a winning environment that may take a couple years before it can evolve into a title-contending culture.

Because both Irving and Durant in Boston next season would automatically make the Celtics the team to beat in the East and frankly, the biggest threat to the Golden State machine in years. 

But if they decide to play for the Knicks, New York becomes one of the top teams in NBA but are far from a legit threat to topple Golden State and for that matter, not necessarily a favorite to emerge from the East immediately. 

So as much as we will continue to monitor Davis and Boston’s efforts at landing him, don’t sleep on the Celtics and their potential pursuit of pairing Irving with Durant, a superstar who has shown nothing but respect and admiration for what the Celtics have done in recent years.

As Kevin Garnett reminded us in 2008 … “Anything’s possible.”

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