By: Kenny Doyle
Kyrie Irving has been traded to the Celtics. By now, you've surely heard that the Celtics swapped Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and their 2018 BKN pick for Cleveland's superstar point guard. After internal turmoil with LeBron and a very public trade request, it appears Kyrie got what he wanted.
Kyrie wanted his own team. He wanted a chance to be 'the guy'. That's what's most concerning. Kyrie is a ball dominant player. His marquee is his ball handling. Kyrie always wants the ball in his hands, but will he get that with Boston? The Celtics system has been built on ball movement and floor spacing. Running the offense through players like Al Horford and swing it around looking for the best shot. Does Kyrie want to do that? By all accounts Kyrie left Cleveland because he was tired of deferring to LeBron James. So now do we expect him to defer to Al Hordord and Gordon Hayward?
This is where the problem has always arisen for Kyrie. When LeBron James asked him to pass more, he got upset. When Richard Jefferson talked to Kyrie about how good their record was when he had 10 or more assists, Kyrie sighed in disappointment. Kyrie does not like passing. How will that work when he plays in a system that is all about ball movement?
The fundamental question that will have to be answered once Kyrie gets to Boston is: Is Kyrie willing to play team basketball with the Celtics or did he just want to leave Cleveland so he could shoot the ball more? Kyrie will have to disprove the latter on the court. If Kyrie wanted to leave Cleveland because he wanted to be Kobe, that could spell trouble for the Celtics.
Kyrie is a great player, but the upgrade from Isaiah is minimal if he doesn't buy into Brad Stevens' system. Isaiah was willing to play off-ball and allow Al Horford to run the offense a lot last season. Will Kyrie do the same or does he want to dribble out the show clock and shoot a fadeaway? That should be the concern of every Celtics fan in this trade.
If Kyrie it was 100% just about winning to Kyrie, he wouldn't have left the 2nd greatest basketball player of all time. So no matter the other reasons, winning is not the first priority for Kyrie Irving. So what is? Fame? Stats? Attention? Through all of this we still don't have an answer from Kyrie himself on the most asked question in the NBA over the last month: Why does Kyrie Irving want to leave LeBron James? Hopefully we'll get our answer from Kyrie himself soon, but the answer we'll not be "to win a championship".
Isaiah Thomas recruited Al Horford and Gordon Hayward both to Boston. He built relationships with them. They came here under the impression that they would be playing with Isaiah Thomas. Now they will be playing with Kyrie. The simple fact is that Kyrie has yet to have a successful relationship with either of his running mates since he's been in the NBA. First it was Dion Waiters. It got so bad between the two that Waiters was eventually traded for pennies to the Thunder. Now he's broken up with LeBron James. Is Kyrie to blame for these relationships going south? Is Kyrie a bad teammate? He often calls isolation plays for himself and freezes out teammates while trying to crossover his defender. The ball sticks with Kyrie. If Kyrie doesn't get Al and Gordon their touches and things start going south with them, we'll know who's to blame for the Cleveland break up.
If Kyrie wants to win in Boston, he will be embraced by the city, but if he just came here to get his own team and get more shots, it could lead to bad team chemistry and a disappointing Celtics season. So what's it gonna be Kyrie? What are you here for? Because if it's not to win, you might as well not bother showing up.
Photo: (USA Today FTW)