Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Irving was in Atlanta, filming a documentary, and he said he was on the set when he got the call.
“I cursed probably twice, and then I ran out,” Irving said. “I took a moment outside on the side of the street in Atlanta to watch the cars pass. I took in that moment, because it really meant something. It was the start of something new, and I knew I was going to come in contact with some other great individuals, and we were going to go after something special.”
Well, here we are. Finally. We got the Gordon Hayward/Kyrie Irving press conference/photo op. that we’ve all been waiting for.
And it’s slowly starting to sink in.
It’s a done deal.
The Celtics have basically done the good ol’ Keith Richards blood change on their roster after a 53 win season, something that is, at least to my knowledge, unprecedented. Four of five starters and eleven of fifteen players that were on the roster on July 1st are no longer on the roster two months later. I don’t know very many instances where the roster of a team has gone through that much upheaval in an offseason, much less having that happen after securing the top seed in the conference.
Ultimately, it’s a huge vote of confidence in Brad Stevens; I shudder to imagine what would’ve happened if Doc had been given a similar set of circumstances. Ainge is so confident in Brad’s ability to coach the first fifteen guys that wander into the locker room, whoever they are, that he’s taken that whole ‘Trader Danny’ thing to an almost absurd level. Remember that one season when there were over 40 guys on the Celtics roster? Yeah, well Ainge pretty much topped that this offseason.
At the press conference yesterday, Kyrie said some interesting things about being ‘the man’:
“Is there ever such thing as one person carrying the whole team?” Irving asked. “I don’t think so. When you have a collection of individuals where we’re all having one mission, and one goal, and collectively getting better, there are a lot of moving parts. You have to depend on those moving parts to do their job to their ultimate ability.
“It’s our job to bring the best out of one another every single day. That’s been echoed throughout this organization over the years through the players and the tradition that is here in Boston.”
If this is how Kyrie sees a healthy team functioning, it’s no wonder he wanted out of Cleveland: Although Lebron is selfless on the court, during games, his conduct off the court has been markedly selfish ever since he jumped ship for Miami, and then dumped Miami for more promising digs in Cleveland. Lebron’s repeated public jabs at his teammates, his coaches and management speak of a guy who either doesn’t know how to make a positive impact on the people around him, or flat out doesn’t care.
Not surprisingly, Brad Stevens echoed Irving’s sentiments
“The most exciting thing about coaching is the opportunity of putting a team together,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “And it can only happen if your best players are guys who really want to be a part of something special as a group, and appreciate the value of what everybody brings to the table.
So far Kyrie’s talking the talk–and he put his money where his mouth is by foregoing a $6M trade kicker. But the real proof comes when the season starts and Kyrie has to change how he plays in order to be the player he says he wants to be.
More press conference coverage
MassLive: Boston Celtics’ Gordon Hayward received welcome text from Tom Brady, but he’s ‘still a Colts guy’ | Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving gives thoughts on Charlottesville, Houston & Jae Crowder’s mother’s passing (video) | Gordon Hayward on Boston Celtics fan base: ‘It seems like they are pretty educated sports fans’ | Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving hasn’t spoken to LeBron James, but opportunity to play with James was ‘awesome’ | Gordon Hayward: Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens was first person to believe he could get to NBA | Gordon Hayward: Isaiah Thomas gave ‘tremendous’ pitch to join Boston Celtics, Kyrie Irving ‘unbelievable’
ESPN Boston: Kyrie praises LeBron; trade about ‘potential’
Page 2: Where talking to IT was hard
“It was one of the most difficult conversations I’ve ever had in my life,” Ainge said. “IT, everybody in Boston will be grateful for IT and all that he’s done. We wouldn’t be here today with Kyrie and Gordon Hayward and Al Horford if IT didn’t exist.
“If IT really hadn’t helped us get back on the map and become a respectable team and do all that he did this past year — Second Team All-NBA and so forth — we’re probably not sitting here having this press conference, because Gordon Hayward probably isn’t impressed with the team and Horford and everything else.”
While Thomas’ hip injury raised concerns for both the Celtics and Cavaliers, Ainge noted Friday that he expects Thomas to make a complete recovery and use the resulting trade as motivation.
“Those are the really, really hard decisions and a very hard conversation to have with IT,” Ainge said. “IT, as you know, is a very good man, but he’s very emotional as well, and he’ll wear that chip on his shoulder and be out to prove how great he’s going to recover from his injuries and I look forward to that. It will be the happiest day of my life when I see him make a full recovery and play as great as he did last year for another few years.”
Brad Stevens has a saying, ‘winning is really hard.’ And if you end up in the front office, it doesn’t get any easier–it just gets hard in different ways.
Trading IT was not easy. Trading IT to Cleveland was especially difficult. Making that phone call was probably harder than agreeing to the trade.
And if all this pays off, it pays off because Ainge was willing to make harder choices than almost any other GM in the business.
Finally: You don’t have to win a championship to be loved forever in Boston
They say if you win a championship in Boston, you’ll be loved forever.
You don’t always have to win a championship, Isaiah