BOSTON – Training camp is only a couple days old, but the Boston Celtics know that there are some truths that are inescapable.
That minutes won’t be quite as plentiful as they were a year ago because of the team’s depth, the kind of depth that will surely leave some players longing for the good old days – you know, last year – when playing time wasn’t quite as stringent as it’ll be this season.
“They all get it,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “I think everybody has enough respect for the rest of the players on the team that it’s easier to accept a role that the players you’re playing behind are good.”
When asked if he or head coach Brad Stevens will have to remind players of that very point, Ainge responded, “I don’t know. Maybe in time. I talk to the players all the time. There were times when I thought I was better than Larry Bird. And someone had to talk me off the ledge. I’ll do the same.”
Making things even more complicated for the Celtics is that they have not only a roster full of talented players vying for minutes, but several of them becoming restricted or unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2019 which is as bad a time as there is to find one's self playing fewer minutes.
But the one player that will surely draw the most attention will be Kyrie Irving who is expected to opt-out of the final year of his contract and become one of next summer’s most highly regarded free agents.
Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck gave his thoughts on Irving’s impending free agent status earlier today during 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Felger & Mazz show.
“I’m just not too worried about Kyrie,” Grousbeck said. “I think he’s going to see what we have and he’s going to be part of leading it and building it. And if you lead something and build something in Boston, that’s a legacy. And that could end up in the rafters (with a retired jersey number), OK. And you really can’t say that anywhere else.”
Ainge has also kept the lines of communication with Irving open.
“I talk to Kyrie a lot,” Ainge said. “He has been very positive from the day he got here. I talk to Kyrie all the time, and his representation. I think Kyrie is very, very happy here in Boston, always has been. I think that we’ll hopefully make it a place he’ll want to stay much longer when the season ends.”