League execs, like fans, have lots of thoughts on Kyrie's future in Boston

League execs, like fans, have lots of thoughts on Kyrie's future in Boston

CHICAGO -- Like Celtics fans, the opinions about Kyrie Irving among league executives and scouts run the gamut.

But when it comes to Irving’s future in Boston, the overwhelming majority believe he’ll be taking his talents elsewhere next season.

A six-time All-Star, Irving will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

While Boston has indicated it wants to re-sign Irving, it is unclear if the feeling is mutual with Irving being linked with a number of teams led by the New York Knicks.

By signing somewhere besides Boston, Irving would be walking away from about $80 million.

But according to multiple league officials, that doesn’t matter.

“If you think the money he’s going to leave on the table by going somewhere else besides Boston is going to be an issue, you don’t know Kyrie,” one Eastern Conference General Manager told NBC Sports Boston. “He’s a different kind of guy; and a lot of the stuff that you would think would be an issue for him, he could care less about.”

A different league executive pointed out how the talk about Irving and issues with the media won’t be a factor, either.

“He’s thinking about playing for the Knicks, and we all know how big a (media) circus show that can be,” the second league official said.

Despite most of those spoken to indicating they anticipate Irving will play somewhere besides Boston next season, there were a couple of league officials who are convinced that when all is said and done, Irving will sign a long-term deal with Boston.

“He’s playing all of you guys right now,” a front-office official with a Western Conference team told NBC Sports on Thursday. “Say what you want about his leadership and all that nonsense, but the one thing we know about Kyrie is he will do what is best for Kyrie. The money, chance to win a title sooner rather than later, have his own team … all that stuff matters and when he looks at all the different options he’ll have, I think he’ll have one of those, “what the hell was I thinking?” moments and go back to Boston.”

An NBA scout who has followed Irving dating to his days at Duke agrees.

“I know this season didn’t end the way Kyrie or the Celtics wanted,” the scout said. “But when you look at what went wrong for them, it’s easy to blame Kyrie because he didn’t shoot the ball well. But when you hear what others are saying afterwards, Brad (Stevens) saying he did a bad job, players talking about how they sacrificed this and that … it’s pretty obvious that they had a lot of issues going on that were bigger than just one player, even a player as good as Kyrie.

The scout added, “I think he comes back and he comes back with an attitude; a little edgier with not just his words but his play.”

All agreed that the addition of Anthony Davis via trade would bode well for their chances of re-signing Irving, most believing the Celtics have to do that before they can officially get Irving back into the fold.

“Obviously they want Anthony Davis. Hell, we all want Anthony Davis,” a Western Conference front-office official said. “But even if they strike out on getting him, they still have to make changes. If they’re going to go all-in on Kyrie, they have to build this team around him with guys who can complement more than the last year’s team.”

And while all those spoken to by NBC Sports Boston had their own rationale for what they believe will be Irving’s fate, the one thing they were unanimous on is that there will be changes made to Boston’s roster next season.

But will those changes include Kyrie Irving?

Stay tuned …

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Kendrick Perkins: We just have to continue to use our voices

Kendrick Perkins: We just have to continue to use our voices

Over the last few days, we've seen several notable athletes take to the streets to protest George Floyd's murder and the racial injustices that continue to plague the country.

Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown led the charge on Saturday, driving 15 hours from Boston to Atlanta to organize a peaceful protest with fellow NBAer Malcolm Brogdon.

Brown's Celtics teammates Marcus Smart, Enes Kanter, and Vincent Poirier followed suit on Sunday with a peaceful protest in Boston, showing the tremendous impact athletes can have on their communities when they let their voices be heard.

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Monday on Early Edition, former Celtics big man Kendrick Perkins discussed how Brown and other athletes affect social change when they decide to speak up.

"We just gotta continue to use our voices. We can't change racism overnight, but we can change the system, and our voices need to be heard. It don't matter what race you come from. It's just speak what's right, and stand on what you believe in. It's leading by example.

"When you look at even a guy like Stephen Jackson who I think set the bar, and then all of a sudden Jaylen Brown who's a younger guy in this league says, 'Oh, if Stephen Jackson is out here, a retired player, and he's standing on the frontline, then let me do it. And then all of a sudden, guess what, Jaylen Brown, he influenced Enes Kanter. It's a chain reaction, so whether you're a veteran or a young guy, that don't matter. It's just about taking a stand and taking a trend."

As Perkins notes, when one player finds the courage to speak up, it starts a chain reaction. Some may hesitate to use their voice in fear of the backlash they may receive, but now more than ever it's important to put that fear aside and stand up for what's right.

There's no doubt Brown's admirable actions influenced other athletes and public figures to take a stand, and that's something we should start to see more of in our society.

You can watch the full interview with Perkins below:

Brad Stevens breaks Twitter silence to endorse need for change after George Floyd's death


Brad Stevens breaks Twitter silence to endorse need for change after George Floyd's death

Brad Stevens isn't very active on Twitter. In fact, his last tweet before Monday came during March Madness in 2017 when his former team, Butler University, was making its NCAA Tournament run.

Stevens broke his three-year Twitter silence Monday morning with two tweets, both of which stressed the importance of making real change to combat racial injustice in America following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.

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The first tweet from Stevens was his support of the NBA Coaches Association's statement on Floyd's death.

The second tweet was a message from Stevens regarding former President Barack Obama's article that he wrote for Medium titled, "How to Make This Moment The Turning Point For Real Change.” 

Boston Celtics players have taken an active role over the last week in calling for change and engaging in peaceful protests.

Celtics guard and Georgia native Jaylen Brown made the long drive from Boston to Atlanta to lead a peaceful protest Saturday. Celtics centers Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier, and guard Marcus Smart also joined protesters in Boston on Sunday.

The Celtics released their own statement Sunday, which included the following passage: "We stand with our players, employees, partners, and fans in being committed to championing the change we need.”