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Kyrie Irving defenders emerge from ‘dysfunctional’ Celtics
3 weeks ago  ::  Jul 31, 2019 - 12:20AM #1
JonahFalcon
Posts: 25,531

nypost.com/2019/07/31/kyrie-irving-defen...




Celtics fans have loudly blamed Kyrie Irving for their team’s underachieving 2018-19 season, and have painted the Nets’ new point guard as a poor teammate. But after that month-long narrative, some Celtics players — and the team’s owner — are now telling a different tale.

In the past two days, Boston’s Marcus Smart defended Irving as “a great teammate” who shouldn’t be used as a scapegoat or held solely responsible for the team’s struggles. And Irving still has a good relationship with the Celtics organization and owner Wyc Grousbeck, who called him “a good guy.”

“For me, personally … Kyrie is a great teammate,” Smart said Monday on ESPN. “I’ve had sit-downs with Kyrie where things for me weren’t going too well and he’s pulling me aside. And it wasn’t even really about basketball.

“Everybody knows what I’ve been through with my mom, losing her and everything. Kyrie’s one of the first guys to text me, to call and talk. When I got back to Boston, he pulled me to the side and we talked. And as far as basketball, just helping me slow the game down and recognize and understand it more. So as a teammate, I love him for it.”

After the Celtics went “only” 49-33 and got bounced out of the playoffs in the second round, it was asserted that Irving is a poor teammate.

Clearly the chemistry went awry, and Smart acknowledged “we were dysfunctional.” Boston has undergone an offseason overhaul with Irving, Aron Baynes, Al Horford, Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier all gone. And while Smart said Irving must take part of the blame, he admitted he himself has to shoulder some, as do all the players and coaches.

“Let me make this be clear: We — not just me, the world, even Kyrie knows — he didn’t play up to the standard that he wanted to. But there’s four other guys out there with him. There’s a coach out there,” Smart said. “We’re all supposed to be one team. So you can’t put the blame on just one guy, because there’s things that everybody could’ve done better to not just help Kyrie, but help each other.

“And when you’re going in — especially when you’re trying to build that camaraderie — when you start singling guys out, it makes it really hard. And we’ve seen it inside the locker room and things like that, with guys calling guys out and it just wasn’t working for us. So for me, I just wanted to let people know that, yes, we understand that Kyrie wasn’t up to Kyrie’s standard, but there’s four other guys, there’s a whole roster full of coaches. Everybody participated.”

While Boston fans have been salty about Irving’s exit, Grousbeck said Tuesday his former All-Star guard recently reached out to him and the pair had a heartfelt exchange.

“Well it just wasn’t a general era of happiness around the team at the end,” Grousbeck said on WEEI. “You know, he just sent me a text the other day out of the blue and it was a really thoughtful and nice text, lengthy text kind of, and I responded and we had a nice back and forth. I mean that doesn’t always happen with players, and he’s a guy that wants to have a good relationship.

“We do have a good relationship, he and the Celtics organization have a positive relationship. We wish him kind of the best, except when he’s playing us. But he’s a good guy, he tried hard, he gave us two years, and we’re going to move forward.

“I think that he wanted to go back down, his family is in New York and he wanted to be back down there, and we’re going to gear up for the Nets. There are good feelings, but good competitive feelings.”

3 weeks ago  ::  Jul 31, 2019 - 8:30PM #2
TheManMike
Posts: 2,701

It just never worked out, but Boston's gonna regret letting significant key pieces get away. I expect them to take a bit of a dive in the standings, next season, but that's THEIR problem.


Brooklyn, on the other hand, is gonna be eye-opening team that alot of people will unfortunately continue to sleep on because they assume KD is lost for the season. With or without KD, Nets still have a good core with much more improvement at Center and Point Guard. Dare I say that Brooklyn will win the division, next season? You heard it first.

1 week ago  ::  Aug 10, 2019 - 7:54PM #3
Jon
Posts: 155

Don't sleep on Taurean Prince or DeAndre Jordan. LeVert will be back too.

1 week ago  ::  Aug 10, 2019 - 9:58PM #4
TheManMike
Posts: 2,701

Aug 10, 2019 -- 7:54PM, Jon wrote:

Don't sleep on Taurean Prince or DeAndre Johnson. LeVert will be back too.



*DeAndre JORDAN* but yeah, he's gonna be a great addition as will Prince. Can't wait until the season starts, though I want to enjoy the remainder of summer Cool

1 week ago  ::  Aug 11, 2019 - 8:17AM #5
Jon
Posts: 155

Oops. Was thinking of something else. I just can't stop remembering now the Nets were pushed around by the 76ers in the post.

5 days ago  ::  Aug 16, 2019 - 12:15AM #6
TheManMike
Posts: 2,701

Aug 11, 2019 -- 8:17AM, Jon wrote:


Oops. Was thinking of something else. I just can't stop remembering now the Nets were pushed around by the 76ers in the post.




Yeah, that was horrifying to watch. With DeAndre on board (and hopefully an improved/motivated Allen), I don't expect many opposing bigs to be pushing the Nets bigs around much anymore.

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