Report: Kyrie Irving 'disengaged and detached' from Celtics teammates as freefall continues

John Tomase
March 04, 2019 - 2:18 pm
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Kyrie Irving continues sending signs that he's out the door. The latest red flag comes courtesy of The Ringer.

In a lengthy story detailing the travails of the Celtics, writer Kevin O'Connor includes this nugget:

For answers, you have to ask the guy who hates being asked questions: Kyrie Irving. “At this point in my career, it’s not necessarily about my skills or my talent. It’s more about how do I echo greatness to our group every single day and figure out what that looks like for us. That’s been the biggest challenge for me,” Irving said in December. At that point, he was playing with consistent defensive effort, fighting through screens and closing out hard. In the locker room and in huddles, Irving was enthusiastic and encouraging. But as the trade deadline approached, something changed.

These days, Irving plays lackadaisical defense, and unfocused offense. Sources around the team told me that Irving’s persona has changed, too: He’s become disengaged and detached from those around the team. There is talk that Irving’s friendships on the team start and end with Tatum, with whom he shares an agent. Two sources peg Irving’s change in demeanor to early February, around the time he was asked about the possibility of joining the New York Knicks next season.

That certainly tracks with the eye test, which Irving has been failing for much of the team's 3-7 stretch, including Sunday's loss to the Rockets. Irving looks disinterested on defense and only periodically engaged on offense as the Celtics flounder.

Whether that causes Irving to leave on July 1 is anyone's guess, but it's clear he's not a happy camper right now.

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