The Celtics’ problems won’t all be solved when Kyrie Irving explores free agency.
In fact, a recent ESPN report points out at one point Irving may have been part of the solution for Boston.
According to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, there were a number of situations where the six-time All Star tried to mend the issues facing the team, including early in the season when he encouraged teammates to share the ball and pass more often. MacMullan even enlisted former Cedric Maxwell, who now serves as the team’s radio analyst, to highlight the other problems facing the Celtics.
“It wasn’t just him,” said Maxwell, who spent eight season in Boston from 1977–1985. “This group was the most dysfunctional team I’ve seen since 1983, when we had four Hall of Famers on our roster and got swept by the Milwaukee Bucks. These guys never found a way to be on the same page.”
The report noted that Irving’s “attempts at providing forceful leadership proved to be flawed, and ultimately destructive.” However, a number of players, including the younger ones on the roster, were unable to mesh well together and the team’s “vibe” became a greater concern for coaches as the season progressed.
“The bottom line is that we had seven perimeter guys who were all very good players, and all of them brought something different and unique to the table,” coach Brad Stevens told ESPN. “If you ask any one of them, I’m sure they’ll tell you it was hard to find all that they wanted this season.
“I don’t lose any sleep over that. They were all extremely competitive, well-intentioned guys. The pieces just didn’t fit.”
This comes after MacMullan reported Irving was eager to get out of the city.
“I’ve been told this by many people: He didn’t like living in Boston,” MacMullan said late last week on “The Hoop Collective” podcast. “He just didn’t. By the end, he had issues with Brad. By the end he had issues with Danny (Ainge). By the end he had issues with pretty much all of us.”
Irving has been linked to a number of teams, including the Lakers, who appear to be “swinging for the fences” to acquire the star.
Irving is coming off a season in which he averaged 23.8 points, 6.9 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game.
The Celtics went 49-33 in the regular season record and were eliminated by the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, 4–1.