The Boston Celtics headed into the 2018-19 NBA season with the goal of fully dominating the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference and winning an NBA championship title. Despite going through lots of ups and downs, the Celtics finished as the No. 4 seed and competed in the 2019 NBA Playoffs. Unfortunately, after sweeping the Indiana Pacers in the first round, the Celtics were easily eliminated by the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks when they faced each other in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The Celtics managed to win Game 1 against the Bucks but ended up losing the next four games. Kyrie Irving, who only shot 30 percent from the field during their four-game losing streak, has been taking most of the blame not just for the Celtics’ inability to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, but for their struggle in the entire in the 2018-19 NBA season. In a recent interview with ESPN, Celtics President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Danny Ainge decided to break his silence and defended Irving from his critics.
Danny Ainge believes it’s unfair for Kyrie Irving to take all the blame, saying that there are “lots of reasons” why the Celtics failed to accomplish their main goal in the 2018-19 NBA season.
“It’s unfortunate that one person gets credit or blame for a team’s failures,” Ainge said. “We had a lot of reasons the team did not succeed this year. Kyrie deserves his share of the blame, but not any more than anybody else.”
One of the major factors that Danny Ainge thinks contributed to their season struggle is their players’ inability to accept or make themselves fit into the role given to them by Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens.
“There’s a lot of guys that didn’t handle things the right way and didn’t make the sacrifices that needed to be done for the benefit of the team,” Ainge said. “We didn’t have 100% buy-in from 100% of the team. I did not anticipate that.”
Kyrie Irving to the Nets would be flat-out amazing. pic.twitter.com/UJT3G1LZ1V— SB Nation (@SBNation) June 5, 2019
As of now, the Celtics should try to move on from their recent failures and see what they can do to prevent the same thing from happening next season. When their season officially came to an end, Danny Ainge revealed that their No. 1 priority in the 2019 NBA offseason is to bring back Kyrie Irving, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent next July. However, in his interview with ESPN, Ainge admitted that even he has no idea what Irving plans for the 2019 NBA free agency.
“I don’t know. There’s not much I can say about that, honestly, but there’s ongoing conversations.”
After a season filled with drama and frustrations, multiple signs are pointing to Kyrie Irving leaving the Celtics and starting a new journey somewhere else. Though they will still be left with young and promising talents like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Irving’s departure will deeply hurt the Celtics and dramatically change their plan in the summer of 2019.