Kyrie Irving made his first appearance for the Brooklyn Nets on media day, and the guard had plenty to share regarding his offseason decision and last season’s struggles. Following his trade to the Boston Celtics, Irving vouched to re-sign with the team in front of thousands of fans. As the 2018-19 NBA season progressed, there were growing concerns about Irving’s commitment to the Celtics.
Danny Ainge hoped to convince Irving of giving it another go, but the latter had already made up his mind prior to free agency. In his press conference, Irving was appreciative of the Celtics fans’ warm welcome and revealed the exact moment when things took a turn for the worse.
“And then two weeks later, things just got really, really rocky for me in terms of when I left, after the Phoenix game, I went to my grandfather’s memorial. He passed on October 23, and after he passed, basketball was the last thing on my mind,” said Irving, per CBS Boston.
“So a lot of basketball and the joy I had for it was sucked away for me. There was a facial expression that I carried around with me throughout the year. I didn’t allow anybody to get close to me in that instance and it really bothered me,” added Irving during his media appearance.
Irving went on to describe how the passing of his grandfather affected him on a personal level and changed his views regarding the game of basketball, as well as free agency.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) September 27, 2019
As the former franchise player of the Celtics, Irving was expected to lead by example during his tenure, but the six-time NBA All-Star accepted blame for the team’s shortcomings. Following a second-round exit against the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2019 NBA Playoffs, Irving took time to reflect on the ongoing events in his life. Irving noted that he “failed” the Celtics as a leader since he couldn’t “give everything” to the squad or “bring everyone together.”
There were several disputes among players as last year’s campaign unfolded for the Celtics. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were expecting to feature in bigger roles, while Terry Rozier became upset over his lack of minutes. Brown also engaged in a heated argument with Marcus Morris that only escalated matters behind-the-scenes. All sides involved are now aiming to put an underwhelming run behind them, as the 2019-20 NBA season approaches.
When it comes to Irving, he will get a chance at redemption with the Nets. A change of scenery may do wonders for the 2016 NBA champion, who is certainly looking forward to a fresh start. The Nets and Celtics are both hoping to top the Eastern Conference, but it will be easier said than done for the former given Durant’s injury.
With preparations underway for the season, the Nets have signed Lance Thomas, as previously noted by The Inquisitr. Although the forward is a decent addition to the bench, Irving will likely have to carry a heavy load for the Nets until Durant is fully cleared to return.