Tomase: Kyrie Irving to the Lakers is doomsday scenario for Celtics

John Tomase
January 30, 2019 - 11:34 am
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Connecting the dots with Kyrie Irving is never straightforward. The enigmatic Celtics guard can be all over the map when it comes to leadership, playing with LeBron James, planetary contours, etc. …

But the news that Anthony Davis wants out of New Orleans, preferably right now at this very second what's taking so long, has me worried about one particular set of dots, which stretch from Boston to Los Angeles like an ironman version of the Family Circus.

The feared result? Kyrie Irving in Lakers gold.

We shouldn't even be talking about this, and perhaps there's nothing to it. Irving is already on record that he plans to stay in Boston. On the eve of opening night, he told fans he planned to sign an extension, and he later expanded upon those remarks, noting that Danny Ainge and Co. "just wanted to show me what being a Celtic is all about, and that I was going to come around, and I absolutely did. I believe in it. I believe in the franchise."

That's great. But enough has happened since to sow tiny seeds of doubt that best not germinate. Consider the following:

-- The season hasn't unfolded as predicted, with Gordon Hayward a shell of himself, Jaylen Brown taking a half step back, Terry Rozier struggling off the bench, and Jayson Tatum too young to make an appreciable leap. Irving has expressed repeated frustration with his young teammates, and they've finally started to push back, with Brown noting that leadership starts from the top down, not the bottom up. The Celtics, expected to cruise to the No. 1 seed in the East, are instead fighting to crack the top four.

-- Irving's frustration led him to place a call to former teammate LeBron James, the star around whom the NBA still orbits. Irving apologized for being a lunkhead, the implication being that he only recognized said lunkheadedness when faced with it in the form of his own young mates.

-- James followed up that olive branch by tagging Irving in an Instagram post of himself singing Fetty Wap's "Rewind" from the back of his car. Sample lyric: "I know you're with him now but soon you will be mine, If I could bring it back, I'll probably press rewind." And yes, this is a very NBA-in-2019 form of outreach.

-- Following on the success of Uncle Drew, Irving's Pepsi-commercial-turned-movie that earned nearly $50 million at the box office, comes news this week that Irving will headline and produce an untitled horror movie about a haunted Oklahoma hotel. Irving's interest in Hollywood is well-established, and calling Los Angeles his professional home would certainly align with his off-court passion.

-- Davis! Talk about burying the lead. The Celtics have hoarded assets for the last three years in the hopes that the transformative Pelicans big man would become available. Everyone assumed that day would be this summer, but Davis's camp accelerated that process by demanding a trade. If a deal is struck before the Feb. 7 deadline, it would probably be to the Lakers.

The impact on the Celtics could be devastating. Imaging Irving hitting free agency after a disappointing season, having reconciled with LeBron, and with Davis already in L.A.

If they joined forces, it might be the greatest Big Three ever assembled in one fell swoop, topping Boston's Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett-Ray Allen triumvirate, LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh in Miami, or the current Steph Curry-Kevin Durant-Klay Thompson trifecta bombing away in Golden State.

Irving would frankly be doing himself a disservice if he didn't consider that leap, promises to Boston be damned, because that's one hell of a situation, especially if he's now OK riding sidecar to James, at least until the indomitable star finally starts showing his age.

That's why Celtics fans should be petrified over the possibility of Davis landing in Los Angeles this week. If he reaches the offseason, the Celtics become the frontrunners to land him. At that point, Irving can opt out of his deal, re-sign with Boston for $80 million more than anyone else, and spend the 2019-20 season convincing Davis where the grass is Greenest.

Otherwise, those dots could become a solid line, pointing straight at the City of Angels, which is as close to a doomsday scenario as the Celtics will find.

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