If you’ve never been, New England weather is crazy. Multiple blizzards in a week, snow showers in April, and trade winds all year. You can’t Google a sports team around here and not see a headline surrounding controversy, especially lately. Recently, Kyrie Irving’s name has come up as speculation that he may leave TD Garden for Madison Square’s next year with his upcoming pending free agency.
There’s been reported concern, said Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports/NBC Sports Boston on Thursday during his podcast, that the New York Knicks are a ‘real threat’. And it holds weight. Not only had Uncle Drew openly stated desire to break ankles in front of Spike Lee, but he’s been non-committal to Danny and the gang, which doesn’t always appease Ainge. You thought this year was funky? The fun hasn’t even started for Boston. For now, let’s examine some reasons Kyrie could be playing with a unicorn instead of a leprechaun.
The Grass Isn’t Always ‘Greener’
From the time Kyrie hit the court in Boston, he dazzled the crowd with shifty ball handling and magican-like passing. Scoring at a high level with 24.4 PPG, he’s the prototype PG you’d want on your team. Never selfish and always supportive, he proved himself the leader he sought to be when he forced his way from LeBron’s shadow in Cleavland. That shadow has seemed to eclipse what the Celtics had accomplished all year, and Kyrie’s future with a team, once again though.
Having ‘witnessed’ LBJ suffer a sweep in quest for #4 last night, and with a third decision coming for who he will play with next, Boston was cited as a team that James said he would be looking to “have a conversion” with. That’s not really a good thing if you’re Kyrie Irving. It touches on the underlying distaste Kyrie has for James. Adding LBJ to a team Irving made his own would unequivocally demolish the relationship he formed with Celtics brass.
Let’s not forget, Kyrie never wanted to play with LeBron in the first place. At the time when he signed a max deal in Cleveland, he was under the impression the Cavs were trying to build around him. Reported by ESPNs Brian Windhorst, it was said KI wanted out of Cleavland – for years. He especially didn’t want to be second banana to James. He was also tired of the lectures and drama that came with being his teammate. It’s just something Kyrie never signed up for. Why would Danny consider meeting with LeBron knowing the life Kyrie came from? Even the possibility of James coming to Boston could be enough for Irving to go where he really wants to play, for the New York Knicks.
Kyrie Irving “very badly” wants to be a Knick, he “wants to come home”
When rumors hit the internet, it leaves open an endless discussion of what if’s and how so’s. A breeding ground for trade scenarios and a platform for fans to express their hatred or likeness for one move or another. Enter Celtics fans. For months, it’s been speculated what Boston might do with Smart, Rozier, Horford, Brown, Lucky the Leprechaun, and the janitor who sweeps the court. Enter Kyrie. True, rumors are just that, but when a player outwardly expresses a desire to join a team (ex. Carmelo Anthony, Paul George?), you have to take it as truth. Players sign with who they want and for their reasons. Boston has important choices to make that would either continue their path to glory or slow the process. Enter Danny Ainge.
There was open conversation back when DA robbed the state of Ohio that Kyrie originally wanted to play for the Knicks. ESPNs Pablo Torre reported on ‘First Take’ last year that Kyrie “very badly wants to play for New York .. wants to come home” Why? A franchise that’s ended the careers of endless players, it’s team you went to die (i.e. also Melo). The players that go to New York seem to never be the same. Why in the world would Kyrie want to go there? Because it’s not that anymore.
Sure, the Knicks have been the laughing-stock of the NBA, but who hasn’t? With Kristaps Porzingis, aka the Unicorn, jumping over rainbows and defenders, the Knicks seemingly have some things cooking at MSG now with the hire of David Fizdale and a top-10 draft pick. Kyrie wants to be apart of that. And Boston is a lot further to New Jersey, Irving’s hometown, than Manhattan. New York is the place where the heart of basketball resides, and the orange is in Kyrie’s blood. Fifty major sports teams championships to 35 instead a bad touch, either.
Doesn’t he have all that in Boston, minus being only a little further from home and a few less rings? Can’t Irving help increase that number? Sure, but the NBA is an unforgiving mistress. Just ask IT. A business over all, Danny has things to think about in search of banner #18. Smart wants to come back, LeBron wants to find an easier way to a championship, and Kyrie’s knee is on its last legs (pun intended). Brown and Tatum are the future, and who better to mold both than Tatum’s idol, LBJ.
Trading Irving would rid a contract and make room for LeBron. It’s unlikely, but we’ve seen Danny pull rabbits out of hats before. Plus, DA isn’t fond of injuries or players who suffer from them, something Kyrie has a history of. He also took a page out of Belichick’s book and sheds players who speak loudly or are non-committal. Below is quote from today that shows Kyrie dodging a question on his future with the Celtics. He did this same sort of thing before leaving Cleveland. Remember when IT wanted the Brinks truck? That quickly turned into the ambulance. Kyrie says all the right things, but does he mean them?
Doesn’t know his astrology but knows where, and who, he wants to play with
In Kyrie’s mind, LeBron is the Joker to his Batman, the Earth is flat, and he wants to play in New York. The potential for NY getting back to being the ‘Mecca’ is premature, but adding a player who already wants to play for you in Kyrie could make him something of a ‘prophet’. Plus, the New York market for a 25-year-old with a sneaker line could have Kyrie seeing a different kind of green.
Kyrie has always wanted to be the one of, if not the main focal point for his team. With the emergence of young talent Boston’s been able to produce and Hayward coming off injury, would it be plausible to assume Kyrie might take a smidge of a backseat? He also wants no part of an LBJ reunion. In New York, he’d be top dog alongside Porzingis in a PG heavy, dish and drive Fizdale offense. Something Kyrie made an All-Star career out of. Check out this headline back in February, around the time KP suffered his season ending knee injury.
Point of interests, New York would have the money to sign Kyrie come 2019. They may also have a well established core in Frank Ntlikina and Emmanuel Mudiay, tied with a strong draft and free agency. That could be enticing enough to suit up in front Walt Frazier nightly. For now, as it’s been, this is speculation. And who knows, Kyrie also mentioned he wanted to join the Spurs, Timberwolves and Heat. They could also be on the radar but don’t look to deep into that. His shot total would see a hike if with NY. It might decrease with Boston at full strength, and so would his PPG. Again, Kyrie wants to be alpha of the group. With the pups in Boston growing into the big dogs, where would that leave room for Kyrie in an already Jayson Tatum/Jaylen Brown fan mindset?
Earlier this morning when @SopanDeb tweeted, reports of “real fear” within the Celtics organization regarding Kyrie and his open desire to play in New York were alive. With the Celtics needing minimal roster improvements and the face of the franchise hating your biggest free agent target, what will Boston do that keeps Irving in the South Shore? Rather, what will Irving do to force DA to choose; the NBA’s prodigal son, or its Heavily Father?
Danny has the basketball mind of legends, with tales of his roster moves heard far and wide. Alas, heard just as wide are his exiles. Kyrie isn’t a stranger though to his own general manager moves, forcing a trade within days of the story breaking from a winning Cleveland team. A player of his caliber could certainly demand it, as he’s crossed up defenders on his way to a five-time All-Star and NBA Champion career so far. All while still taking you to the hole and finishing off glass. He has leverage, especially since helping Boston to a #2 seed in the East.
Not an easy one for DA, and might sting more than most former moves for Boston fans if he’s traded or goes elsewhere. It might hurt a little more if he leaves willingly to a divisional team like the Knicks, being in the same conference as well. Could KI be in NY sooner than he know it? The writing seems to be on the wall, so let’s get Ainge on board to NOT book a flight for LeBron to TF Green anytime soon. Kyrie is too valuable at his position, and Boston doesn’t have a Kyrie Irving talent in the wings. The C’s are on the brink of bringing back that ‘dynasty’ reputation but have their plate full with question marks. If Kyrie decides New York’s pizza is better than Boston’s, he could leave Boston hungry. Bon appetite.
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