Kyrie Irving remains the largest piece of the Celtics’ offseason, but Boston’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge indicated Wednesday that they have not received bad news from the All-Star point guard or his camp.
Ainge spoke to reporters at the Auerbach Center about a host of topics, one of which being Irving’s current status. The front office executive immediately noted there wasn’t much he could elaborate on, but did say Irving has not told the team he doesn’t want to return next season, per NBC Sports Boston’s A. Sherrod Blakely.
When Boston traded for Irving, it made him a foundational piece of its team. If he chose to leave, it would alter the Celtics’ future plans immensely. Trade packages for Anthony Davis could change, while their backcourt situation would be drastically different. With all of this comes an element of risk.
The New Orleans Pelicans most likely are going to attempt to move Davis before the June 20 draft, which means the Celtics may have to bet on themselves. Do they enter the trade market acting as if Irving is going to stay come July 1? That could be risky, but risk is something that Ainge and the Celtics are not afraid of.
“There?s always risk in making deals,” Ainge said, via NBC Sports Boston. “We?re not afraid of risk. We made a risk by trading for Kyrie, and no matter what happens with Kyrie, I?ll never regret that. You just move on to the next deal.”
Sure, as Ainge said, the Celtics haven’t received any indication that Irving plans to leave, but the risk remains present, especially in an offseason that’s sure to have plenty of dominos fall.
Lots of this pressure comes at the heels of Boston’s disappointing season. The Celtics were favored to come out of the Eastern Conference entering the year, but following a roller coaster campaign, their season was cut short, culminating with a five-game loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Unlike some outsiders, Ainge doesn’t solely blame Irving for the downfall of the 2018-19 Celtics. Yes, they failed, but it was a team failure, according to the executive.
“It?s unfortunate that one person gets credit or blame for a team?s failures,” Ainge noted. ?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. 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. So I think that they?re all going to learn from it, including Kyrie. He?s still a young player, and I think Kyrie is going to come back even better next year.”
Time will tell how Boston’s roster shakes out, but the next month is sure to be a busy one.