What to make of Jaylen Brown's latest comments about Kyrie Irving

Nick Friar
December 17, 2019 - 6:45 am
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When Kyrie Irving first spoke ill of his young Celtics teammates last season, it seemed like he was talking about Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier. Each of those three played a role in Boston’s 2018 postseason run. Each of them also saw their roles change when Irving and Gordon Hayward returned from their injuries for 2018-19.

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Then came last year’s All-Star Weekend, where Tatum and Irving were together a bit. They seemed good.

Rozier had his wild day on ESPN. He said he was cool with Irving, too — and Rozier reiterated the same sentiment when he came back to Boston during the preseason.

So, unless Robert Williams was the one causing problems — he’s never been linked to any of the Irving vs. young guys stuff — Brown is the only one left.

When the Celtics went to Brooklyn on Black Friday, Brown was not among the players who spoke with Irving on the court after the game. Tatum, Williams, Marcus Smart and a few others did. Again, this fed into the narrative this whole ordeal was Irving vs. Brown.

Then, Brown spoke to Brandon Robinson of Heavy.com.

One thing Brown said about Irving was, “I’m happy to see him flourish.” Yeah, that comment was unexpected, to say the least.

But there’s more. Brown also spoke about the blame Irving has received for Boston’s failures in 2018-19.

“Kyrie got a lot of the blame and (it) was undeserving,” Brown said. “It wasn't his fault that certain guys couldn't take a step back. It wasn't his fault. That was the front office and the coach's fault. He gets a lot of that blame because he was the star. But a lot of that should be on the organization and coaching staff.”

Those involved with last year’s Celtics have taken some of the blame off Irving. But no one has absolved him completely. And the ones who’ve pointed a finger elsewhere have not called out a specific group or individual — unless they're taking the fall themselves.

Until Brown, that is. Because he followed Danny Ainge’s lead and put the blame on the group Ainge runs. Then he threw the coaching staff under the bus.

At the same time, Brown didn’t exactly take the heat off his 2018-19 teammates, either — except for Irving. His line, “It wasn't (Irving’s) fault that certain guys couldn't take a step back,” puts blame on others for not doing what was best for the team. Who that was, remains unclear. Maybe Rozier? Maybe an older guy or two?

This all seems harsh because Brown is being more specific than others who’ve spoken on the matter. But when you boil it all down, he’s really doing what everyone else has done.

The difference is, Brown isn’t giving a stock answer. He’s not going with the simple “everyone is to blame.” But, in reality, he is saying everyone is to blame — he just broke “everyone” into groups.

Now, there might be another layer to this. Brown’s remarks could also be a commentary on Irving’s leadership.

Because he placed the blame on everyone but his old teammate, one could infer Brown was illustrating how Irving lacked the capabilities to help with the situation.

Normally, this would be too next-level to consider, but Brown is a smart guy. He could find a way to camouflage a point. 

Either way, the clear part is, Brown is following everyone’s lead when it comes to Irving, he just put his own spin on the matter.

Now there doesn’t seem to be anyone left to weigh in on the dysfunctional 2018-19 Celtics — unless one of the players is ready to tell-all. (Maybe Marcus Morris will someday. He did say a ‘30 for 30’ would be done on that group at some point.)

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