When Kyrie Irving made his decision to join the Brooklyn Nets from a free agent standpoint, not many people were surprised. His career in Boston had slowly deteriorated over the past two years, and to put it frank, the city was content on him leaving.
His promises of championships were left in the dust. Any little inkling of a reputation that spelled out leadership, gone.
The media jumped on him just as they had done throughout the season, letting him know how badly he had screwed the team. Yet, one man defended the choice. And it wasn’t a name that jumps off the page. It was the head coach, Brad Stevens.
Stevens voiced his wish that Al Horford had stayed, but he didn’t criticize Irving either. Instead he expressed his understanding towards the choice.
“You know, I think anytime you go through a year like we went through, where you don’t necessarily meet expectations, on some years that might be a good year but on others it’s not. You know there’s probably going to be some change, and I don’t fault him one bit for choosing to follow what he wants to do. That’s his right.”
Now, does that mean he wanted the starting point guard to stay with the Celtics? Most definitely not.
Stevens was in a difficult position, working with one of the NBA’s worst divas. To make matters worse, there were plenty of other bloated egos in the locker room who cared more about personal agendas than winning. He tried to mold the situation into a well-oiled train, but it never stayed on the rails for more than a few games at a time.
Danny Ainge goes out and signs Kemba Walker as a replacement, and all of a sudden it’s a completely different world. The former Hornet may not be as talented as Irving, however, his character is miles above.
Though Stevens will always take the high road, there is no doubt he is glad to be rid of the cancer heading into next season.