The Boston Celtics could lose Kyrie Irving to free agency, and if they trade for Anthony Davis, he could be a one-year rental. Why would the Celtics potentially part ways with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown for a one-year rental, you ask?
Two words: Kevin Garnett.
For Danny Ainge, the Kevin Garnett experience looms large, NBA writer Sean Deveney said on The DA Show. When they traded for him, it took a lot of arm-twisting for Garnett to say, OK, Ill go to Boston. They made the trade for Ray Allen at the Draft in June, and it wasnt until early August that they finally got a Kevin Garnett trade done, that he was OK with it, that Minnesota was able to get him to sign off on it, which is something they wanted, and they were able to complete that trade.
Garnett spent the first 12 years of his career in Minnesota. In 2004, he was named NBA MVP and led the Timberwolves to the Western Conference Finals, where they lost to the Lakers in six games.
Kevin Garnett did not want to come to Boston, Deveney said. He did not want to play in Boston. He did not want to be with the Celtics. But he came here and after one year he fell in love with the city. They won a championship, he fell in love with the fans, and hes probably going to wind up with his number retired despite playing just a few years in Boston. So I think that for Danny Ainge, that experience remains in the front of his head, and he thinks, If I can get Anthony Davis, well do what we did with Kevin Garnett, hell fall in love here, and no matter what his agent says, hes going to want to stay.
I think thats the big reason, Deveney continued. Danny Ainge was taught pretty early in his tenure that if you have a chance to get a player like that, you just do it and hope everything works out afterward.
Irving, meanwhile, reportedly parted ways with his agent and is eyeing Roc Nation Sports. He is apparently extremely interested in playing for the Nets.
Assuming Irving leaves Boston, why did it not work with the Celtics?
I think that its a bad fit on a personality level, Deveney said. I think his personality didnt really mesh with the coach, didnt really mesh with the front office, didnt mesh with a lot of the young players there who they value. . . . If they keep the young players, then I dont think theres any way they can keep Kyrie as well.
If Irving leaves Boston, he will play for his third team in four seasons.
He wanted to be a leader, he wanted to show he could run a team, he wanted to show that he could be the No. 1, Deveney said. The problem is he hasnt really learned how to do that. He hasnt learned how to manage a locker rom. He hasnt learned how to approach practices. You dont have to be a nice guy. You just have to be able to really get guys behind you. Whatever your personality is that brings that out in other guys, youve got to accentuate that.
I just dont think that Kyrie knows what that is right now, Deveney continued, and he might not have that. He might not be that kind of guy. He might be as he was with the Cavaliers: best off playing with a guy like LeBron rather than having to be a No. 1 himself.