Celtics' Danny Ainge will 'never regret' Kyrie Irving trade despite free agency rumors

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge admitted he doesn’t have any regrets when it comes to trading for Kyrie Irving in 2017, despite mounting rumors that the star guard may sign with another team in free agency. 

“There’s always risk in making deals. We’re not afraid of risk,” Ainge said Wednesday (per the bostonherald.com). “We made a risk by trading for Kyrie and, no matter what happens with Kyrie, I’ll never regret that. You just move on to the next deal.”

The Celtics acquired Irving in a trade with the Cavaliers and he has played two seasons for Boston. The Celtics finished 2018-19 with a 49-33 record as Irving carried them to the Eastern Conference semifinals. They were then eliminated by the Bucks after losing the series 4-1.

Ainge made it clear, though, he doesn’t think it’s fair to place the blame on the 27 year-old guard.

“The first thing I would say about the whole Kyrie thing, it’s unfortunate that one person gets credit or blame for a team’s failures,” Ainge said. “We had a lot of reasons the team did not succeed this year. Kyrie deserves his share of the blame, but not any more than anybody else. There’s a lot of guys that didn’t handle things the right way and didn’t make the sacrifices that needed to be done for the benefit of the team. So I think that they’re all going to learn from it, including Kyrie. He’s still a young player, and I think Kyrie is going to come back even better next year.”

As for what will happen next with the Celtics star? Ainge said they’ll have to be patient.

“There’s ongoing conversations but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens there,” he said.

Irving’s under contract with Boston through 2020, but he has a player option in his final year. Many expect Irving to decline the option and become a free agent this offseason. There has already been speculation that Irving could land with the Nets, Lakers or Knicks.

NBA free agency starts June 30 at 6 p.m. ET.