Reporters have been pressing Kyrie Irving to open up about his move from Cleveland. No one has, until now. Of course, it was Jackie MacMullan who was able to pry it free.
What they didn’t know was Cleveland had explored trading Kyrie in June, long before he asked out, a fact conveniently omitted when word of his demand leaked. Irving made the decision to remain silent while the details of his request were, in his word, “distorted.”
“I didn’t feel the need to say anything because I knew the truth, and so did they,” he says. “So it didn’t matter what others said.”
Still, for a split second, Irving winces, as though someone has pricked him with a pin.
“They didn’t want me there,” he says.
The temptation is to say this begun a process that landed Kyrie in Boston. The fact is, as the piece explains, the seeds of discontent had been planted much earlier.
There was mistrust of LeBron and, apparently the coaching staff, which is highlighted in this
“Ky,” Lue said, “I want you to play a little faster.”
“Why?” Irving asked.
“Because if we play faster, we get shots off easier.”
“I don’t need to play faster to get my shot off,” Irving replied. “I can do that anytime.”
“I’m not talking about your shot. I’m talking about RJ and JR,” Lue said, citing teammates Richard Jefferson and Smith.
“Well, that’s No. 23’s job,” Irving replied, referring to James.
According to members of the Cavs organization who witnessed the exchange, Lue ended the conversation by walking away, shaking his head.
Kyrie admits he wished he had a do-over here. In fact, when you read the comments from guys like Marcus Smart and Brad Stevens, it becomes clear that the situation in Cleveland sapped Irving of his true personality.
The big thing about this piece is that it adds a bit of perspective to Kyrie The Celtic. The woke eccentric we see is a bird escaping the cage. His personality flies free now, where it used to be twisted into knots. Some of it was his own doing, some wasn’t.
It’s a personality Danny Ainge says he’s seen before…
Brace yourselves for this one.
Celtics boss Danny Ainge, for his part, likens Irving to Larry Bird, who, depending on the situation, could be introverted or extroverted. Bird diverted attention if he felt too suffocated by the adulation, but he also embraced the limelight when the game was on the line and the ball was in his hands. “Those are threads Larry and Kyrie share,” Ainge says.
Kyrie’s a young man bent on finding and beating challenges. It’s interesting to read this piece and start to put more of his personality together.
Obviously Jackie Mac is awesome and this piece is another must-read. There are a lot of fun anecdotes (the phantom massage on Terry Rozier… how he feels regret for throwing that pass to Hayward…). You should definitely take a few minutes to read the whole thing.