When did Kyrie Irving really begin to consider leaving the Boston Celtics? Depends on who you ask.
ESPN's Jackie MacMullan and Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie suggested Irving was plotting his exit as early as December 2018. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge says Kyrie first expressed his desire to leave Boston in March.
On Tuesday, Celtics governor and managing partner Wyc Grousbeck shared his version of the Irving timeline.
"In the beginning he said, 'I want to come back. I want to retire my jersey here if we win. He promised the fans," Grousbeck said during an interview on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show."
"And then as the season went on, something changed. By February, we thought he was at risk for not coming back and then in June, that’s what happened."
That's a slightly different recollection than Ainge gave. But Grousbeck's more notable admission was that Irving, who signed a four-year, $141 million contract with the Nets in free agency, recently sent him an unsolicited text.
"You know, he just sent me a text the other day out of the blue," Grousbeck recalled. "It was a really thoughtful and nice text, lengthy text, and I responded and we had a nice back-and-forth. That doesn't always happen with players."
Grousbeck pointed to the exchange as evidence Irving and the Celtics are on good terms, even amid reports the All-Star point guard had soured on Boston by the end of his tenure.
"He's a guy that wants to have a good relationship, and we do have a good relationship," Grousbeck said of Irving. "He and the Celtics' organization have a positive relationship. We wish him kind of the best -- except when they're playing us."
The Irving-Boston "marriage" clearly wasn't meant to be, and even his ex-Celtics teammates admitted things got messy last season. But it appears the 27-year-old isn't burning every bridge on his way out.
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