Celtics

Celtics

Kyrie Irving's issues with the younger players on the Boston Celtics were well-documented throughout the 2018-19 NBA season. The superstar point guard was not afraid to call out some of the younger players, and in November he suggested the team sign another veteran.

ESPN writer Jackie MacMullan, appearing on the latest episode of "The Michael Holley Podcast", revealed Irving even "soured" on Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.

"He soured on Danny," MacMullan said. "I don't know why. But I was hearing by December he's frustrated with Danny. I don't know what it is, I still don't know the answer. Kyrie has never told me. It started there, and then he starts second-guessing the coach -- again, passive-aggressive. I don't think he disliked Brad Stevens at all, I just think he lost faith in him. And I think he lost faith in everybody there."

Irving had a great statistical season for Boston, but the team never found the right rotations to get the most out of its impressive depth and talent. The C's struggled to the No. 4 seed and were eliminated in disappointing fashion by the Milwaukee Bucks in a five-game Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series.

 

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The 27-year-old guard, despite telling Celtics season ticket holders during an event in October that he planned to re-sign in Boston, ultimately took his talents to the Brooklyn Nets in NBA free agency, where he teamed up with two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant.

Ainge admitted earlier this month that he had a feeling late in the regular season that Irving would not return to Boston.

"I think I had a pretty good idea in March or April," Ainge said after the introductory press conference for Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter. "Not for sure, though. Not certain. But I was obviously thinking about moving in a different direction at that point. Thinking of the different options."

The Celtics have quickly moved on, and they found an excellent replacement for Irving in Walker, who signed a max contract with Boston in free agency to be the team's starting point guard. Walker is a high-character player and his leadership ability has drawn rave reviews. The C's should again be a top-four team in the East next season, and even if the roster as a whole is a little less talented compared to 2018-19, this current group should be a more cohesive unit with better team chemistry.

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