The flat truth about Kyrie Irving’s future in Boston

The flat truth about Kyrie Irving’s future in Boston

A lot has been made, and will continue to be made, about Kyrie Irving’s vague response to questions about his long-term future with the Celtics. The star point guard said, “Contractually, financially, [an extension] just doesn't make any sense,” when asked about potentially signing an extension with the Celtics this summer (Irving would make approximately $80 million more if he opted out of his contract and re-signed with the Celtics next summer).

A lot has also been made, and will continue to be made, about Irving’s vague response to questions about his opinion on the shape of the Earth. The 26-year-old was vexingly ambiguous on the topic in an interview with the New York Times' Sopan Deb last week.

Not enough has been made about the connection between the two topics: Kyrie’s feelings about his future with the Celtics and his skepticism about the shape of the planet.

Alex Moshakis recently wrote about a Flat Earther conference for the Guardian and made a few observations about the type of people in attendance that reminded me of Kyrie.

A distrust of the establishment, or “them,” is necessary for anyone who doubts the scientific consensus we’ve held for thousands of years. Now, I don’t know Irving (although I did say hello to him at Media Day last fall) but I could see why he might have trust issues. The Cavaliers signed him to a max extension in the summer of 2014, releasing a statement in which they called him “firmly at the core of our Cavaliers team and family for years to come." just days later they signed LeBron James. 

Fast forward to the summer of 2016, when word reportedly gets to Kyrie that the team has had internal talks about what they might receive in return for him in a trade. Irving hit the arguably the biggest shot in NBA history in Game 7 of the 2015 NBA Finals, helping the Cavaliers overcome a 3-1 deficit against the 73-win Golden State Warriors...and they’re thinking of trading him? 

That’s when the next common trait of Flat Earthers comes into play. Moshakis notes that many of the people he spoke to at the conference were in search of control over their life. They don’t want to just swallow what scientist tell them because it’s what everyone else does, they want to decide for themselves, and that a rejection of the establishment is a “bid to reclaim personal agency.” Irving’s request for a trade was a way to regain control of his career … just like unrestricted free agency will be next summer.

Harry Dyer, a lecturer at the University of East Anglia was also at the Flat Earth conference. His write up on Live Science  focused on the attendees' skepticism “of existing power structures and their tight grasps on knowledge.” Irving’s appearance on ESPN’s First Take last fall was a clear example of his refusal to accept social norms. He doesn’t care whether he was “supposed” to want to stay with LeBron James, the best player on the planet. He wanted to leave and didn’t care what NBA society thought about it. It’s honestly refreshing.

That’s why reading into Kyrie’s comments, one way or the other, about his future with the Celtics are just conjecture. Conventional wisdom says he should want to stay in Boston, where he will make the most money, play for a prestigious franchise with an elite coach surrounded by young players with star potential. But conventional wisdom means nothing to Kyrie. He’s told us that with his words and actions. Kyrie has earned the right to control his career, and that’s exactly what he will do next summer. Let’s hope he decides this city is the best place on Earth, whatever shape it may be, for him to grow in.


NBA Rumors: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant won't play for Nets when season resumes

NBA Rumors: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant won't play for Nets when season resumes

Since the NBA's suspended season has given Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant months to recover from their respective injuries, some believed they could return and make the Brooklyn Nets title contenders.

That theory was put to rest on Friday.

Durant confirmed to ESPN's Marc J. Spears he will not be returning to play when the NBA season resumes in Orlando, Fla. next month. As for Irving, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski says the former Boston Celtics guard suggested on Friday's NBPA conference call it's possible he could join the team... as an inactive player.

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Durant missed the entire 2019-20 campaign after rupturing his Achilles tendon in last year's NBA Finals. Irving underwent surgery in March to repair an impingement in his right shoulder that ended his first season with the Nets after only 20 games.

Brooklyn currently holds the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 30-34 record on the season.

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck offers thoughts on NBA's 22-team return plan

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck offers thoughts on NBA's 22-team return plan

On Thursday, the NBA announced a 22-team plan to resume the 2019-20 season in Orlando, Fla.

The plan passed by an overwhelming 29-1 vote among teams, with the Portland Trail Blazers as the only organization to vote against it. Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, obviously, was one of the many in favor of the plan and discussed why Friday on Felger & Mazz.

"The point that seemed the most fair is not to give a team that was lagging farther behind in the East, and that was for example [the Charlotte Hornets] who are seven games back," Grousbeck said. "In the history of the NBA, no one has ever come from seven games back at this point in the season. And so, it's more fair to say no, we can only take so many teams because of safety.

"We don't want to have 500 more people with all 30 teams. We'd just have more of a chance of getting shut down because of the virus. So there was a line to be drawn, and we all decided 29-1 that this was the most fair line."

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With safety as the No. 1 concern going forward, it's a no-brainer to limit the teams heading down to Walt Disney World to only the ones that can fight for a playoff spot.

Grousbeck also suggested that the Eastern Conference No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks could be the C's first opponent when the league returns to action. The Celtics were preparing for a matchup in Milwaukee when the season was suspended in mid-March.

"I think our first game is going to be Milwaukee, which that would be interesting," Grousbeck said. "Because that's what the schedule looks like just from the current schedule. We don't have the new schedule yet. But we'll probably start right off with Milwaukee."

The C's currently have the No. 3 seed in the East as they prepare to return to the court.

You can hear the rest of what Grousbeck had to say in the video above.