Needless to say, the Kyrie Irving era did not go as many had hoped it would. After being acquired by the Boston Celtics in a trade package centered around fan-favorite Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and the No. 8 pick, Irving spent two seasons with the Celtics. And the results were mixed.
In his first season, the Celtics outperformed expectations in the wake of Gordon Hayward's brutal injury in the season opener. Irving was great on the floor and while he didn't play in the postseason, he seemed to have a future in Boston. He even indicated that he would return to Boston early before the season, much to the delight of Boston fans.
However, things changed during the season.
Irving was still solid on the court, but the Celtics failed to live up to expectations. They never fit together well enough and couldn't sustain their winning ways. As the season went along, Irving became someone of a malcontent and changed his tune about re-signing. Now, it is a foregone conclusion that Irving won't return in free agency and the latest rumors have connected him to the Brooklyn Nets.
While Irving's departure is likely to change the fabric of the Celtics, Danny Ainge hasn't been worried about it. And Irving's high school coach recently expressed similar sentiments and intimated that a split between the two sides would be mutually beneficial.
“Obviously the team did not achieve like they would have wanted or he would have wanted,” Irving's high school coach Kevin Boyle said in an interview with Tara Sullivan of The Boston Globe. “They have a terrific coach, a really good GM, really good players. They just didn’t jell.
“I think hopefully everybody takes what they’ve been accountable for and tries to see how they can move forward in their own careers, correct that and go forward. Usually after that, most guys, intelligent people, are going to look at it objectively when they get out of it, think what could I have done differently, and I think they’re all going to have great years.
“I think Boston is going to be happy with their season next year; there’s too much talent there."
It's certainly possible that the Celtics could be in for a quick bounce back. They have a lot of young talent -- namely Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown -- but they also have the ability to add some players in free agency. They will have somewhere between $24 million and $32 million in cap space depending on what they do with their own free agents. So, they will be able to reshape their roster and build around their young players.
Either way, it seems that moving on is a good move for both sides as Irving's relationship with Boston had just become too strained. Perhaps both parties will find success in the upcoming season.
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