Kyrie Irving: Hardwood Magician

lovegtm

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Even better is that his DRPM is 6th among point guards (Smart is first). Celtics can be a truly elite defensive team with Irving impacting that end as well.
Yeah, this is quite important because he's played a lot of minutes in non-Smart lineups, so this isn't just Kyrie being only put in perfect situations defensively. The main outstanding question is how he'll hold up when targeted in the playoffs, but this isn't his first rodeo there either.
 

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You have to love the maturity he’s showing. No one else I want leading this edition of the Celtics.
 

Spelunker

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Best thing about that is the unexpected joy in Gorman's call.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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You have to love the maturity he’s showing. No one else I want leading this edition of the Celtics.
Agreed. He is course correcting and while its unfortunate its public, he is acknowledging his mistakes and trying to correct them. I know others may perceive this negatively but he gets kudos from me. Most people dig in, even when they are wrong.
 

ugmo33

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If I was on the team, Kyrie repeatedly calling it "his team" and the overly-analytical way he talks about leadership would really rub me the wrong way...I'm not even on the team and it rubs me the wrong way....not even mentioning all his remarks about "knowing what it takes" and the other guys not knowing. He's a leader when he shows up on the court like he did tonight
 

leetinsley38

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If I was on the team, Kyrie repeatedly calling it "his team" and the overly-analytical way he talks about leadership would really rub me the wrong way...I'm not even on the team and it rubs me the wrong way....not even mentioning all his remarks about "knowing what it takes" and the other guys not knowing. He's a leader when he shows up on the court like he did tonight
Agreed. Honestly I love Kyrie the player. He just needs to STFU and play ball. It’s exhausting when after every game he has to wax philosophically about where the team is at, what it takes to win, ruminate on how the young guys are doing, etc.. I can see why Jaylen is starting to roll his eyes at him.
 

DrewDawg

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I don't know--Paul Pierce was on last night and said this is a good thing. You want guys to have roles, and Kyrie is now publicly staking out the alpha role.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Amazing thing about sports. How many pages of game thread demanding his head would there have been if he had missed that shot?

This team was minutes away from the NBA Finals without him. It's grating that he's making it seem like he's dragging this year's Pheonix Suns to championship contention.
The Cs got a favorable draw to get there. MIL and PHI were good matchups for them and the PHI kind of spit the bit. If they had gotten, just for example, IND and then TOR, they probably wouldn't have gotten to the Finals. So last year's finish was a bit of fools gold.

(Although I think there's an alternate universe out there where BOS and HOU hit a few 3P shots in game 7; meet in the finals; the Cs win; and this year's team implodes in the locker room).
 

lovegtm

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Amazing thing about sports. How many pages of game thread demanding his head would there have been if he had missed that shot?
...
(Although I think there's an alternate universe out there where BOS and HOU hit a few 3P shots in game 7; meet in the finals; the Cs win; and this year's team implodes in the locker room).
Meh, I'm fine with Kyrie jacking 3s. If anything, I wish he'd up his volume in that regard.

I'll always be convinced that the Celtics would have beaten a CP-less Houston. It would have been an all-time lucky route to a Finals win, but the path was there.
 

Three10toLeft

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The Cs got a favorable draw to get there. MIL and PHI were good matchups for them and the PHI kind of spit the bit. If they had gotten, just for example, IND and then TOR, they probably wouldn't have gotten to the Finals. So last year's finish was a bit of fools gold.

(Although I think there's an alternate universe out there where BOS and HOU hit a few 3P shots in game 7; meet in the finals; the Cs win; and this year's team implodes in the locker room).
That seems like a lot of equivocating. You can only ever play who is front of you, the Celtics were just a few minutes away from dethroning Cleveland.

I agree with LeeTinsley. Kyrie's faux intellectual outlook on leadership, and his constant airing of grievances to the media is becoming tiresome. As a fellow teammate, I'd find it completely unnecessary, and almost wonder if this is all a way for Kyrie to shirk his responsibility for how the season is going ("I tried leading these young kids, but they wouldn't swallow their pride. They won't listen to me, and I've won a ring!"). It would be especially annoying to a teammate who is as smart and self aware as Brown as is.
 
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JohnnyTheBone

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I am in the STFU camp. Just as Kyrie is looking back at his "young" self of two years ago when he demanded a trade out of Cleveland, he'll look back at THIS Kyrie in a few years and realize, "God, what an insufferable dickhead I was". When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
 

lovegtm

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I am in the STFU camp. Just as Kyrie is looking back at his "young" self of two years ago when he demanded a trade out of Cleveland, he'll look back at THIS Kyrie in a few years and realize, "God, what an insufferable dickhead I was". When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
It's awkward/weird to watch him working out how to handle himself in real-time, in front of the media. At the same time though, that willingness to self-analyze and be wrong about things is also one of his positive traits. We forget how rare it is for a 26 year-old NBA star to look at his game, say "damn, I'm not good on defense," and then actually make the effort to improve it significantly and rapidly.

Kyrie is an odd guy, particularly for an athlete, but on the whole I'm happy to have him, and I think he'll learn a lot from this recent media debacle.
 

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I'd like to add to the chorus of appreciation of Kyrie's self-examination. He clearly wants to lead and is partly learning on the job. Of course it's better to handle constructive criticism in house. But he is adapting and learning. Better for the team that the guy wants to lead, can command respect, and learns how.
 

Imbricus

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I'm more in the STFU contingent. I think players gravitate toward natural leaders; you don't anoint yourself one. And his public self-examination can come off as a bit insufferable. A smart leader has everyone's back in public and addresses problems in private. Also he's a little reckless with his comments in general. Last night he said the Celtics are going to "run over everybody" this season. Why say stuff like that? You're just giving your opponents something to pin to the corkboard and get motivated over when you come to town to play.

Still, the guy has shown himself to be an incredible talent and we're lucky to have him. He just needs to chill a bit and let his in-game actions speak for him.
 

lexrageorge

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+1. We need to remember that Kyrie is 26, and not all 26 year olds are press savvy, especially when put into a new situation. In Kyrie's case, that situation is "veteran leader of a team surrounded by a lot of developing players". It's not an easy one. There will be missteps, especially as it's not exactly in Kyrie's nature to keep quiet.

Both KG and especially Ray Allen had reputations for various immature and selfish acts prior to coming to Boston. Back in the original Big 3 era, Dennis Johnson had such a bad reputation that the Suns gave him away for Rick Robey.
 

HomeRunBaker

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+1. We need to remember that Kyrie is 26, and not all 26 year olds are press savvy, especially when put into a new situation. In Kyrie's case, that situation is "veteran leader of a team surrounded by a lot of developing players". It's not an easy one. There will be missteps, especially as it's not exactly in Kyrie's nature to keep quiet.

Both KG and especially Ray Allen had reputations for various immature and selfish acts prior to coming to Boston. Back in the original Big 3 era, Dennis Johnson had such a bad reputation that the Suns gave him away for Rick Robey.
I rememeber hearing through the grapevine that the leagues new anti-drug policy was the real reason the Suns traded DJ because they expected him to be hit with a lifetime ban. Who knows if that was true but he was implicated in some cocaine arrests back then iirc. Supposedly the Lakers traded Norm Nixon for the same reason immediately following the policy taking effect.
 

lexrageorge

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I rememeber hearing through the grapevine that the leagues new anti-drug policy was the real reason the Suns traded DJ because they expected him to be hit with a lifetime ban. Who knows if that was true but he was implicated in some cocaine arrests back then iirc. Supposedly the Lakers traded Norm Nixon for the same reason immediately following the policy taking effect.
I wonder if this was the story you recall:

http://articles.latimes.com/1987-05-09/sports/sp-4689_1_nba-players

It came out well after DJ had joined the Celtics, but it does mention the link with Walter Davis, who was a well-known drug user back in the day.

There were also stories about DJ having a bit of an attitude problem when he was with Seattle, and somehow got labeled as a bit of a selfish player.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I wonder if this was the story you recall:

http://articles.latimes.com/1987-05-09/sports/sp-4689_1_nba-players

It came out well after DJ had joined the Celtics, but it does mention the link with Walter Davis, who was a well-known drug user back in the day.

There were also stories about DJ having a bit of an attitude problem when he was with Seattle, and somehow got labeled as a bit of a selfish player.
Yeah everyone got off the hook when High (best name ever for an 80’s NBA player) died when he smashed his car when drunk one night and he wasn’t available to be cross-examined.
 

lovegtm

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One cool thing watching highlights is seeing how good Kyrie is getting at throwing decisive bounce passes out of traps, usually to Horford or Smart at the top of the key. OKC is a tough opponent in that regard because of their length, but he's been seeing this scheme a ton, and looks like he's feeling more comfortable against it.
 

DrewDawg

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This was in the SI article by Mannix:

But the Celtics remain quietly confident that they are on the same page with Irving, maintaining constant communication with the All-Star guard. “A partnership,” is how one source described the Celtics relationship with Irving, who has been frustrated—like many inside Boston’s locker room—by the uneven play this season but has been positive, publicly and privately, about the direction of the franchise.
The root of his frustration, a former teammate of Irving’s told SI.com, could have little to do with Boston at all. Irving hates the narrative that other players (Kevin Durant in New York; Davis in Boston) can influence his decision, the ex-teammate said. He gets frustrated when he feels people are trying to manipulate him. In his mind, it doesn’t matter if it’s Davis or James—he’s going to do whatever he wants to do, and to assume otherwise is disrespectful.
https://www.si.com/nba/2019/02/05/anthony-davis-celtics-trade-rumors-kyrie-irving-free-agency?utm_campaign=sinow&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&xid=socialflow_twitter_si
 

lovegtm

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Yeah, as I've said, I was initially pissed at Kyrie for the answer he gave to the media. Then I realized that a) he was probably also really pissed about being backstabbed (as he would perceive it) by both AD and LeBron b) he's Kyrie Irving, so he's almost guaranteed to say the wrong thing when pissed. In a way, I kind of like him more for it: it's really raw and human in a way we don't usually see.
 

TripleOT

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It took Kyrie 21 shots to score 24 points against the Lakers, making only 6 of 21 shots. and he had a key turnover with 69 seconds left, up three. The Celtics must get a shot up in that situation. He had three TOs in the fourth quarter in the Warriors loss. If Kyrie was a bit sharper in those games, they're wins. Kyrie is supposed to be the lead dog in Boston. I hope he isn't going to be fumbling key possessions in the playoffs.

I didn't like how early the Celtics took a shot in the one point Lakers game. Of course, if any of the four guys who got fingertips on the ball after the big Horford block of Ingram's idiotic reverse layup attempt, the Cs get the win. I guess the thinking from Brad was to go early, and if there's a miss, foul and try for a three. Not having a timeout was probably the impetus shooting with much time left. but I'd rather have Kyrie just either win or lose the game for me in that spot.
 

lovegtm

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It took Kyrie 21 shots to score 24 points against the Lakers, making only 6 of 21 shots. and he had a key turnover with 69 seconds left, up three. The Celtics must get a shot up in that situation. He had three TOs in the fourth quarter in the Warriors loss. If Kyrie was a bit sharper in those games, they're wins. Kyrie is supposed to be the lead dog in Boston. I hope he isn't going to be fumbling key possessions in the playoffs.
Now do that for the games he totally dominated in the 4th quarter and single-handedly won.

All NBA stars have bad games. That's why they play 7-game series, and why I can't stand March Madness (puts too much weight on flukey bad or good games).
 

DrewDawg

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It took Kyrie 21 shots to score 24 points against the Lakers, making only 6 of 21 shots. and he had a key turnover with 69 seconds left, up three. The Celtics must get a shot up in that situation. He had three TOs in the fourth quarter in the Warriors loss. If Kyrie was a bit sharper in those games, they're wins. Kyrie is supposed to be the lead dog in Boston. I hope he isn't going to be fumbling key possessions in the playoffs.
We all hope that, but he just had a bad game. It happens. When Mookie strikes out in a August game against the Indians, no one posts "I hope he doesn't strikeout in the 9th inning in ALCS against the Astros".
 

herbieplews

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I've been watching the Celtics since the Russell-Cousy days. Every successful team we've had moves the ball as if they were choreographed and eschews the one man show philosophy that this team seems to have embraced. Compared to the past two seasons, they are difficult to watch. I appreciate how talented KI is but I can't say I'd be crushed if he signs elsewhere after the season.
 

joe dokes

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It took Kyrie 21 shots to score 24 points against the Lakers, making only 6 of 21 shots. and he had a key turnover with 69 seconds left, up three. The Celtics must get a shot up in that situation. He had three TOs in the fourth quarter in the Warriors loss. If Kyrie was a bit sharper in those games, they're wins. Kyrie is supposed to be the lead dog in Boston. I hope he isn't going to be fumbling key possessions in the playoffs.
And I hope he's not taking bribes to throw the game. But it, too, is possible.


I've been watching the Celtics since the Russell-Cousy days. Every successful team we've had moves the ball as if they were choreographed and eschews the one man show philosophy that this team seems to have embraced. Compared to the past two seasons, they are difficult to watch. I appreciate how talented KI is but I can't say I'd be crushed if he signs elsewhere after the season.
FWIW-- And acknowledging that asst/FG % might be only a quick-and-dirty proxy for ball movement:

1960-61
23.7A/g -- 46.8 FG/g -- 50.6%

1985-86
29.1 -- 45.3 -- 64.2%

This season
26.5 --- 42.1 -- 62.9%

last season
22.5 ---38.3 58.7%

two seasons ago
25.2 ----- 38.6-----65.2%

A big difference is in shots attempted:
60-61 117.7
85-86 89.2
now: 90.6

I'm not sure what any of this means, but its interesting to see how the game has, and hasn't changed.
 

lovegtm

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I've been watching the Celtics since the Russell-Cousy days. Every successful team we've had moves the ball as if they were choreographed and eschews the one man show philosophy that this team seems to have embraced. Compared to the past two seasons, they are difficult to watch. I appreciate how talented KI is but I can't say I'd be crushed if he signs elsewhere after the season.
People have rose-colored glasses wrt the KG teams. They were great defensively, but bogged down on offense way more often than the current group, even accounting for era.

I honestly think people haven't fully priced in the in-season variance you get in an NBA that is this talented, has this much parity (outside of GSW), and shoots this many threes.
 

bosox79

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People have rose-colored glasses wrt the KG teams. They were great defensively, but bogged down on offense way more often than the current group, even accounting for era.

I honestly think people haven't fully priced in the in-season variance you get in an NBA that is this talented, has this much parity (outside of GSW), and shoots this many threes.
It's like March Madness. A far inferior team can win if it hits its 3 pointers and the other team doesn't. It's the great equalizer.

And yeah, those KG teams were not good offensive teams.
 

Spelunker

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People have rose-colored glasses wrt the KG teams. They were great defensively, but bogged down on offense way more often than the current group, even accounting for era.

I honestly think people haven't fully priced in the in-season variance you get in an NBA that is this talented, has this much parity (outside of GSW), and shoots this many threes.
No kidding. Pierce may have had as many isos that season as all the current C's combined.

As a very quick and dirty metric, that year they averaged 22.4 assists per game (62% of buckets made), this year it's 26.5 (63%).

We *do* seem to be middle of the pack on passing, and I'd like to see them move the ball more. But the notion that it's less now than 08 seems like rose colored revisionist history to me (I very much remember us complaining about ball movement that season). Unfortunately NBA passing stats don't go back that far.

https://stats.nba.com/teams/passing/
 

Jimbodandy

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People have rose-colored glasses wrt the KG teams. They were great defensively, but bogged down on offense way more often than the current group, even accounting for era.

I honestly think people haven't fully priced in the in-season variance you get in an NBA that is this talented, has this much parity (outside of GSW), and shoots this many threes.
The latter part of this is fascinating and worth a look. I will play with some numbers out of curiosity.

In the early 80s, teams tried to get under 10 before the end of the 3Q. Making up more than 10 points was hard. Now, you regularly see teams do it in 3 minutes.

But offenses predicated on 8 foot posts and back door cuts are probably far less variable than offenses regularly jacking up 25+ shots from 24 feet out
 

DannyDarwinism

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Moar reference, league rank in assists per game in Brad Steven era, descending from this year:

6th
20th
4th
6th
4th
23rd

And for the Big Three era:

10th (Rondo missed half the season)
2nd (Rondo led the league in apg)
5th
2nd this year never happened. Nope)
4th
9th (won it all)
 

teddykgb

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I dont think assists are a great proxy for ball movement. You can certainly get an assist without moving the ball more than once and Stevens offense often initiates with a high screen.

To my eyes, they suffer from two independent problems. One is that guys get antsy about not having their points and just start chucking early in shot clock without really shifting the defense. Rozier does this a lot, Tatum for sure, Morris and Hayward as well. Just way too many possessions where they run a single action, it doesn’t work, and the guy with the ball says “fuck this I’m better than the guy on me” and goes iso.

The second “problem” for me is more about late game situations and more particular to Kyrie. We have lacked that guy who can 1 v 1 get a bucket for a long time and some of this is needing to re-adjust to seeing that kind of play. But our depth of talent is wasted at end of games if we are solely going to play 2 man high screen and roll and ask Kyrie to beat the defense. He’s remarkably good at it and came through last night on the final possession but they go to it early and he’s unlikely to get 8 or 9 buckets that way consistently. It completely removes Tatum and Brown from any active offense and stifles the movement turning them all into kick out shooters. I guess my criticism here is that we need that Kyrie iso for specific possessions but when it gets tight it tends to become our entire offensive approach for minutes at a time and I’d rather see the ball moving and have all of our talented players continuing to pressure the team defense.

All of that said, to return to the topic that kicked this off, I think they do a relatively poor job of running the offense and are too quick to audible out of it. When Brad does play without Kyrie and has Jaylen and Tatum in there it feels like watching last years team again with more cutting, more swinging and generally the defense being pushed to its limits in rotation and closing out. I think it’s an excellent system and it’s a shame we don’t work it more
 

lovegtm

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I dont think assists are a great proxy for ball movement. You can certainly get an assist without moving the ball more than once and Stevens offense often initiates with a high screen.

To my eyes, they suffer from two independent problems. One is that guys get antsy about not having their points and just start chucking early in shot clock without really shifting the defense. Rozier does this a lot, Tatum for sure, Morris and Hayward as well. Just way too many possessions where they run a single action, it doesn’t work, and the guy with the ball says “fuck this I’m better than the guy on me” and goes iso.

The second “problem” for me is more about late game situations and more particular to Kyrie. We have lacked that guy who can 1 v 1 get a bucket for a long time and some of this is needing to re-adjust to seeing that kind of play. But our depth of talent is wasted at end of games if we are solely going to play 2 man high screen and roll and ask Kyrie to beat the defense. He’s remarkably good at it and came through last night on the final possession but they go to it early and he’s unlikely to get 8 or 9 buckets that way consistently. It completely removes Tatum and Brown from any active offense and stifles the movement turning them all into kick out shooters. I guess my criticism here is that we need that Kyrie iso for specific possessions but when it gets tight it tends to become our entire offensive approach for minutes at a time and I’d rather see the ball moving and have all of our talented players continuing to pressure the team defense.

All of that said, to return to the topic that kicked this off, I think they do a relatively poor job of running the offense and are too quick to audible out of it. When Brad does play without Kyrie and has Jaylen and Tatum in there it feels like watching last years team again with more cutting, more swinging and generally the defense being pushed to its limits in rotation and closing out. I think it’s an excellent system and it’s a shame we don’t work it more
Yeah, the thing is that Kyrie's numbers close/late are ridiculous, even with that usage.

At the end of the day, he's one of the 3-4 best iso scorers in the league, and you live or die with him happily imo.
 

lovegtm

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The latter part of this is fascinating and worth a look. I will play with some numbers out of curiosity.

In the early 80s, teams tried to get under 10 before the end of the 3Q. Making up more than 10 points was hard. Now, you regularly see teams do it in 3 minutes.

But offenses predicated on 8 foot posts and back door cuts are probably far less variable than offenses regularly jacking up 25+ shots from 24 feet out
Right, exactly. The intuition is that if the Lakers had had an en fuego night like last night in 2008, they would have scored about 10-15 fewer points, simply from fewer of those shots being 3s. Darryl Morey explicitly acknowledged it when building last year's Rockets: he thought the best chance of beating GSW was to build a team that had massive night-to-night scoring variance.
 

joe dokes

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I dont think assists are a great proxy for ball movement. You can certainly get an assist without moving the ball more than once and Stevens offense often initiates with a high screen.

To my eyes, they suffer from two independent problems. One is that guys get antsy about not having their points and just start chucking early in shot clock without really shifting the defense. Rozier does this a lot, Tatum for sure, Morris and Hayward as well. Just way too many possessions where they run a single action, it doesn’t work, and the guy with the ball says “fuck this I’m better than the guy on me” and goes iso.

The second “problem” for me is more about late game situations and more particular to Kyrie. We have lacked that guy who can 1 v 1 get a bucket for a long time and some of this is needing to re-adjust to seeing that kind of play. But our depth of talent is wasted at end of games if we are solely going to play 2 man high screen and roll and ask Kyrie to beat the defense. He’s remarkably good at it and came through last night on the final possession but they go to it early and he’s unlikely to get 8 or 9 buckets that way consistently. It completely removes Tatum and Brown from any active offense and stifles the movement turning them all into kick out shooters. I guess my criticism here is that we need that Kyrie iso for specific possessions but when it gets tight it tends to become our entire offensive approach for minutes at a time and I’d rather see the ball moving and have all of our talented players continuing to pressure the team defense.

All of that said, to return to the topic that kicked this off, I think they do a relatively poor job of running the offense and are too quick to audible out of it. When Brad does play without Kyrie and has Jaylen and Tatum in there it feels like watching last years team again with more cutting, more swinging and generally the defense being pushed to its limits in rotation and closing out. I think it’s an excellent system and it’s a shame we don’t work it more
Fair points. But as to the first, I think "get antsy about getting their shot" is too much armchair psychology. It's just poor decision making. It's no different than Morris falling off his man on defense late in games.
As for Kyrie late in games, it seems that lately he's been passing more out of those iso's. I think part of that is that players have to make the cuts. Bradley was a great cutter. Theis is now, as is Brown. I think loading up for 3s, which is sort of the coin of the realm these days, has taken away from the art of the cut. But my eyes say Kyrie is up for passing if the cutter is there.

No doubt, though, that 5 guys touching the ball is more aesthetically pleasing.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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To my eyes, they suffer from two independent problems. One is that guys get antsy about not having their points and just start chucking early in shot clock without really shifting the defense. Rozier does this a lot, Tatum for sure, Morris and Hayward as well. Just way too many possessions where they run a single action, it doesn’t work, and the guy with the ball says “fuck this I’m better than the guy on me” and goes iso.
Chauncey Billups last night called it "Your Turn, My Turn" ball. Not catchy but apt.
 

benhogan

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question for the cap junkies out there (mcpickl, nighthob, etc)

If Kyrie decides prior to July 1 that he wants to be a NY Knick is there any way we can extract some value for him? IE could we do some sort of 3-way S&T deal with NYK and Charlotte where we end up with Kemba and the cost is Kyrie & a pick &/or young player?

OR if Kyrie leaves the Celtics are left with nothing but a little cap space?
 
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nighthob

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They could talk him into leaving via a sign & trade and generate a TPE to use. But that wouldn’t net them Kemba as they’d be over the tax line (unless they jettisoned Horford too). But they would be in a position to acquire someone without sending out salary in return, though.
 

lovegtm

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question for the cap junkies out there (mcpickl, nighthob, etc)

If Kyrie decides prior to July 1 that he wants to be a NY Knick is there any way we can extract some value for him? IE could we do some sort of 3-way S&T deal with NYK and Charlotte where we end up with Kemba and the cost is Kyrie & a pick &/or young player?

OR if Kyrie leaves the Celtics are left with nothing but a little cap space?
The problem is that the Knicks have space to sign Kyrie outright, so there's no incentive for them to give up assets.

Edit: or gift the Celtics a TPE
 

nighthob

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The problem is that the Knicks have space to sign Kyrie outright, so there's no incentive for them to give up assets.

Edit: or gift the Celtics a TPE
That decision is up to Kyrie and his agent. If they tell the Knicks, “We’ll do it, but as a sign & trade,” Dolan isn’t going to reply “Fuck off and sign with someone else”. That’s the sort of thing that teams losing players do.
 

lovegtm

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That decision is up to Kyrie and his agent. If they tell the Knicks, “We’ll do it, but as a sign & trade,” Dolan isn’t going to reply “Fuck off and sign with someone else”. That’s the sort of thing that teams losing players do.
Is there any precedent for that? Genuinely curious--it seems weird for a player going to a new team to go out of his way to help a rival in the same division.
 

nighthob

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Is there any precedent for that? Genuinely curious--it seems weird for a player going to a new team to go out of his way to help a rival in the same division.
It’s why Ainge spends so much time building good relationships with agents. If he asks Wechsler for a favor is it likely that Wechsler burns a bridge with one of the NBA’s flagship franchises for the sake of the Knicks?

Do you think Irving would somehow hate the Celtics that much that he’d take the time to screw them? New York certainly won’t object to cleaning Frank Ntilikina off their books so that they could shoot for Irving/Davis/Butler as their big three. Alternatively Boston could request a two way sign & trade with Irving going into New York’s cap space and then Mudiay coming back Boston’s way in to the Irving TPE.

But this is all hypothetical because Irving isn’t leaving Boston, even if New York lands Davis. Because I doubt that Irving places any trust in Klutch Sports and doesn’t want to get stuck out on an island with Jimmy Dolan after Davis and Klutch Elton Brand him.