Like any star player and head coach, Kyrie Irving and Brad Stevens have had their differences.
But the former insists the two have come a long way since Irving came to the Boston Celtics two summers ago.
"Our relationship has just grown tremendously," Irving said Wednesday night in Miami after the Celtics' win over the Heat, as aired on NBC Sports Boston. "Just in terms of our communication, what he likes and what I like, but ultimately what’s best for our team and how to get the most out of guys."
"So, it’s made my job a lot easier going to the sideline knowing we’re on the same page. It makes it easier to just go out there and play free and really do my job of leading this team."
Irving's improving relationship with Stevens has benefited from time. The All-Star guard went through four coaches during his six seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers -- Byron Scott, Mike Brown, David Blatt and Tyronn Lue -- never having the same head coach for more than two seasons.
In Irving's second year with Stevens -- himself a relatively green NBA head coach -- he feels that rapport growing stronger.
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"All the coaches I’ve been with haven’t resulted in the win column, but the relationships have grown, of seeing me at a time where at the beginning of a season it was one way and toward the end of the season there was an understanding of what we want to accomplish and what we want to do and trying to get on the same page," Irving added.
"Brad’s my fifth head coach, but for me I take it as an opportunity to get to know an individual, where he comes from, his knowledge of the game, and how he can help me. That’s what you should do with coaches."
There have been bumps in the road, but by Irving's account, the two have shared an open dialog (on cross-country plane rides, for example) that apparently has reaped positive results.
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