It is absolutely insane to suggest Celtics are better without Kyrie Irving

Alex Reimer
February 15, 2019 - 10:24 am
Categories: 

It’s understandable why some Celtics fans want to spew venom towards Kyrie Irving. The dazzling point guard appeared to publicly retract his preseason promise of re-signing here, telling reporters earlier this month he doesn’t owe “anybody bleep” months before his pending free agency. 

On top of that, the Irving-to-New York rumors may have been part of some larger Rich Paul-orchestrated conspiracy to force Anthony Davis to the Lakers, the Sporting News reports

It’s frustrating to watch unfold, and makes it seem as if Irving is toying with the Celtics for personal amusement. The C’s playing well in Irving’s absence gives us plenty of ammunition to use against him. 

But it’s an illogical argument based on nothing more than anecdotal evidence. Yes, the Celtics are 10-2 without Irving this season, after heading to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals without him last year. They beat the Sixers and Pistons with Irving sidelined this week with a right knee issue. 

On the contrary, they blew a 28-point lead to the Clippers while Irving was out. It was one of the more humiliating losses in recent franchise memory. 

All feeble arguments about how the Celtics are better without Irving –– which callers have repeated on sports talk airwaves across the city all week long –– ignore how well they played with him last season. They went 41-19 with Irving leading them during the 2017-18 campaign, before a season-ending left knee injury forced him to the bench. 

Irving’s balky knees are a far more convincing strike against him than any nonsensical proclamation the Celtics would be better off without one of the league’s top-10 players. You need premier talent to win in the NBA. Irving is the only player on the roster who qualifies as such.  

Also, anybody who claims to want to jettison Irving needs to explain the end game. Getting rid of Irving would seemingly make it impossible to convince Davis of signing an extension to stay in Boston. Last year’s playoff run was fun, but you’re probably not getting back to the Eastern Conference Finals with Terry Rozier starting at point guard –– even with Gordon Hayward in the lineup.

This is about championships, and an Irving-Davis collaboration instantly boosts the Celtics to the top of the East, even if Jayson Tatum heads to New Orleans. The C’s can offer Irving $80 more million than anybody else in free agency and own the best chips to land Davis. That is still their most desirable path forward.

For the Celtics’ sake, hopefully their partnership with Irving is just beginning, despite what some fluke wins have to say. 

Related: Celtics accuse Rich Paul of planting story about Kyrie Irving's future