Celtics

Terry Rozier openly discusses challenges of playing with Kyrie Irving

Terry Rozier openly discusses challenges of playing with Kyrie Irving

Want direct insight into the Boston Celtics' roller coaster of a season?

Just talk to Terry Rozier.

The Celtics guard has been candid all season about the frustrating reality of returning to a backup role behind Kyrie Irving, and how re-integrating Irving and Gordon Hayward into the lineup has led to strife in Boston's locker room.

In an interview Tuesday on ESPN's "Get Up!", Rozier openly discussed what made Irving challenging to play with at times.

"He's a great guy. Great leader. You just have to adjust to his style," Rozier told host Mike Greenberg. "Whatever Kyrie wants done, he's gonna show it. That's what he wants done. And you have to adjust to his style of play and how he goes about every game every day."

Rozier said he believed his teammates got used to Irving's leadership style by the end of the season. But in Rozier's eyes, there still was an on-court disconnect between how the Celtics practiced with Irving and how they played.

"We would come in the game and it would be a different game plan than what we kind of expected and kind of went through in practice, so it was different," Rozier admitted.

"We had the first five and then we had the second five (in practice). And when we go out there, I feel like a lot of guys would be mixed up. It wouldn't be the first five and the second five.

"So, what we'd be talking about in practice is not what we went through in the game. It was like, all right, we're going to keep Kyrie out there and put the other guys out there with him, and we're going to figure it out."

That would seem to be either an indictment of head coach Brad Stevens, who had to manage egos and make some difficult lineup decisions on a crowded roster, or Irving, who perhaps undermined parts of Stevens' game plan when he took the floor. In any case, the C's never found the right formula, losing four straight to the Milwaukee Bucks to bow out of the second round of the NBA playoffs in five games.

Irving is expected to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason, while Rozier will become a restricted free agent. Based on the latter's comments, it's hard to see the two playing on the same team in 2019-20.

Here's video of Rozier's full interview with Greenberg:

 

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Report: Al Horford no longer discussing three-year deal with the Celtics, expected to sign elsewhere

Report: Al Horford no longer discussing three-year deal with the Celtics, expected to sign elsewhere

When Al Horford declined his $30.1 million contract Tuesday, all signs were pointing to him agreeing to a three-year contract to stay in Boston

Now, it seems Horford will take his talents elsewhere once free agency begins on June 30. 

Shams Charania also reports that the Celtics are preparing for a strong scenario that both Horford and Irving will leave as free agents. 

It is unknown whether the uncertainty surrounding Kyrie Irving's future with the Celtics or Danny Ainge losing out on Anthony Davis has any impact in Horford's decision, but this would be another crushing blow for Boston. 

Adrian Wojnarowski adds that Horford and the Celtics discussed a new deal, but it appears the sides were too far apart in negotiations to agree on a contract. 

More to come...

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Doug Gottlieb's wild story about Kyrie Irving-Brad Stevens interaction

Doug Gottlieb's wild story about Kyrie Irving-Brad Stevens interaction

If you're still trying to figure out what Kyrie Irving's thinking on a given day, you aren't alone. While we wait on his official free agent decision, and it seems like a formality that he will leave the Celtics for the Nets, more details are sure to emerge to try and explain his thought process. 

One potential detail came from a story Doug Gottlieb told on The Best of the Herd Podcast, which included a strange interaction between him and Brad Stevens before a film session.

Kyrie came in one day to [a film session], he was the first one in film room. He walked up to Brad Stevens and said, ‘What does government mean to you?’

Stevens is one of the more prepared head coaches in the NBA, but he was probably taken a bit off guard from the question.

Though this isn't anything new for Irving. In a story by Bleacher Report's Howard Beck written before the start of the 2018-19 season, he wrote how Irving challenges his teammates' intellect on a daily basis. So maybe this was him picking Stevens' brain. 

So Stevens went into some absolute soliloquy saying absolutely nothing because he didn’t know what kind of trap door any sort of word was. And then Stevens said, ‘What’s it mean to you, Kyrie?’ Kyrie said, ‘Control.'

Whether the story is true or not, it's no secret Irving thinks and acts differently than most. A report on Monday suggested he has essentially "ghosted" the Celtics, similar to how he cut off communication with the Cavaliers before his trade request. 

If he constantly peppers coaches and teammates with these types of questions, maybe it's a good thing communication between the two sides have been scarce lately. 

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