Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made it clear throughout this season that he’d love to re-sign Kyrie Irving in free agency this summer.
With Boston on the verge of elimination from the NBA playoffs, however, it’s fair to wonder whether Irving’s teammates share Ainge’s outlook.
Irving hasn’t lived up to expectations in the Celtics’ second-round playoff series against the Bucks, and Jalen Rose suggested Tuesday on ESPN’s “Get Up!” in the wake of Boston’s Game 4 loss at TD Garden on Monday night that the All-Star point guard’s attitude, struggles and failure to adapt could be weighing on those with whom he shares a locker room.
“This is a team that made it to the conference finals last year without him. So now when they insert you into the lineup, you’ve gotta make everybody better, you’ve gotta make everybody comfortable,” Rose said. “If you go 7-for-22 (shooting), you can’t turn around 8-for-22. You’ve gotta get off the ball. And then when you go to the press conference and say ‘I should’ve took 30 shots,’ what do you think the other 14 guys in the car going home are saying? ‘We can’t wait til this guy gets out of here. We’ll help him pack his bags.’ ”
Irving played well in Game 1 as the Celtics beat the Bucks in Milwaukee 112-90. The C’s have dropped three straight, though, and Irving’s comments after Game 4 were a bit questionable, even though the 27-year-old insisted his confidence hasn’t wavered.
The Bucks will look to close out the Celtics on Wednesday night in Milwaukee in Game 5. It could mark Irving’s final game with the Celtics, as he can opt out of his contract and sign elsewhere this offseason if he’d like.