These past couple of weeks have been swamped by possible trade talks surrounding star Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler and our very own Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving. This has been a topic almost overtaken by “Hot Take Heaven”, as everyone seems to have their own opinion about what team Butler and Irving will join up with. While it’s an intriguing topic to cover, we need to “About Face!” and come back to reality.
Kyrie Irving won’t be traded this season.
Kyrie Irving has been dropping us hints through his interviews and media day appearances, all but revealing to us his plan for the future. Let’s break these things down and put together the clues he has left us.
The Jackie MacMullan Interview
Kyrie recently did an interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, who asked him about the rumors surrounding him and Jimmy Butler possibly joining with a team to play together. He informed her that they have had no such discussions since 2016 – When they were playing together on the USA Team and discussing the future in a practice session.
That’s believable. Players are going to shoot around basketballs and spitball about playing together in the NBA. Generations have done it on the playground and there is no reason to disbelieve that star NBA players do it on the USA Team competing overseas.
“Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this?” Kyrie asked, motioning to the great history of the Celtics franchise. It is a franchise rich with championship history and full of great players. Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Paul Pierce and Kevin McHale headline several of the players that have come through the ranks for Boston. 17 Finals championships and 22 retired numbers hang in the rafters. He’s absolutely right, who wouldn’t want to be a part of this?
That begs the question for the rumors. Why won’t he commit to Boston?
Need to resign Jaylen Brown.
Need to resign Jayson Tatum
— John Vogel (@johnvbasketball) September 25, 2018
Kyrie Irving is arguably the best point guard in the league at this current time. His scoring ability is out of this world, especially when he is healthy and attacking the basket. He hit .408 from beyond the three point line last season, and averaged 24.4 points per game and 5.1 assists. He is undoubtedly a top tier point guard in the league.
Kyrie Irving deserves to be paid as one, and he knows it.
Boston is in a world of pain when it comes to future contracts that they need to have figured out. Jayson Tatum will be getting a huge paycheck come his time to sign an extension. They want Jaylen Brown around. Marcus Smart is tied up for four more years. Gordon Hayward is under a huge contract for another three years. Al Horford is under his huge contract for three more years, as well. While Kyrie is under a player option next season, it’s very easy to assume that he won’t accept it as it’s about half of the going rate for a payer of his caliber.
To re-sign Kyrie, someone is going to have to go, or some agreement will have to be made. The question becomes, what will it be?
The Celtics media day on Monday filled Celtics fans with optimism and hope. There were a lot of great and encouraging statements made by several of the players. However, Kyrie made some comments when he took the podium.
“I believe Boston is the place for me,” he said, before throwing a little shade. “Obviously it’s everybody else’s job to look forward to my future before I can, so I just really thought it was important to make sure it’s known that this franchise is really built for the next few years of being at the top-tier of teams in the league.”
So that ends it, right? He’s going to stay in Boston, right?
No, I don’t believe this solves everything.
What do you expect the man to do?
Kyrie Irving can do two things as a Boston Celtic. He can either be happy to be where he is as the focal point of the offense, or he can demand a trade to a team that will pay him. He hurt his image when he asked to be traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James. So what do you expect the man to do?
Kyrie wants to play basketball. It’s a long off-season and it’s been longer for him because he missed all of March and the playoffs. He doesn’t want the typical Boston Press drama surrounding him all season about playing on another team.
Of course, Kyrie is going to say that he wants to stay in Boston. I genuinely believe him, too. I think he does. However, he understands that with the cap issues, there is a chance the two sides might not come to an agreement. He doesn’t want the media talking about that all season long. Kyrie wants the media focusing on his play, his team, how well they mesh together and how legendary this team could end up being.
So stop talking about Kyrie trade rumors and Jimmy Butler reunions. Start talking about this year and trust the Celtics’ ability to keep stars around forever.
We should all take on Kyrie’s approach to the topic and tackle this when it comes. First, Boston’s got a championship to win.