Kevin Durant defends Kyrie Irving, says Celtics have ‘perfect’ system for him
Golden State superstar Kevin Durant understands — perhaps better than anybody — how hard it can be for players to leave the only team they’ve ever known for their fierce rival. Which is why Durant is standing by Kyrie Irving’s decision to demand a trade out of Cleveland, despite trips to three straight NBA Finals, for the promising Celtics.
That, and because he believes that the 25-year-old Irving, a basketball nut, knew the drama was awaiting him this season in Cleveland and realized that he wanted no part of it.
“When you’re around LeBron James, there’s so much that comes with that,” Durant admitted in a podcast with Bill Simmons on Thursday. “Outside distractions and conversations and just noise that just comes around just from being around LeBron James. And Kyrie was at the point, like, ‘Alright, we lost the championship, this whole season’s gonna be about if LeBron’s gonna leave or not. I’m ready for a new challenge.’
“All that stuff kind of met at the pinnacle of why he wanted to leave,” Durant said. “It just felt like he wanted a situation where he would just be free from all of that and just play.”
The trade was also a great example of the flip side of what Durant has been mercilessly crushed for since leaving the Thunder for the Warriors in 2016, as the Celtics seemingly had no issues happily traded a franchise guy that showed loyalty to their rebuild and rise.
“Guys have been getting traded in their sleep for years. Guys have been getting the [expletive] end of the stick for years,” said Durant. “I mean, some guys have been [expletive] over organizations too. It’s no loyalty. It’s business. There’s money involved.
“Those relationships that you have with trainers and teammates and anybody in the organization, that’s loyalty. That’s friendship. That’s relationship. That’s something that’s gonna last forever. But when it comes to numbers on a paper, at the end of the day, that trumps everything. “Does this dude fit into our salary cap or into our plans? Nah, let’s see what we can get for him.” Like, that’s just a part of the game.”
And as for Irving’s fit in Boston, Durant couldn’t deny the potential trouble it now presents for the East and the Warriors should they make it back to the Finals.
“It’s a perfect system for him in Boston; it’s like a perfect fit,” Durant, who knows a bit about the C’s system from his face-to-face meeting with the Celtics from his free agency visit with the team back in 2016, and knows Irving from their NBA head-to-heads and time together for USA Basketball, said. “He’s a 6-foot-3 Isaiah Thomas, basically, and Isaiah just thrived in that system, and then he got Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, who are gonna be able to make plays for him, too. It’s gonna be pretty sweet.
“I think it was a great deal. But I just think Kyrie just wanted a place where he can focus on just playing basketball and not worrying about the other drama that comes with.
“When you just wanna play and not worry about that stuff, you try to find a place where you can do that,” Durant continued. “And Kyrie, I’m sure he had to know that he was going to Boston. He wasn’t blindsided at all. I’m sure he was OK with going to Boston.”
Full article @ Kevin Durant defends Kyrie Irving, says Celtics have ‘perfect’ system for him
Source: GreenStreet Blog