Kyrie Irving should’ve joined the Brooklyn Nets in Boston

Boston Celtics fans, Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics fans, Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets entered their first matchup with the Boston Celtics without an injured Kyrie Irving. The All-Star point guard also didn’t travel with the team to join them on the sidelines.

Kyrie Irving is still recovering from a shoulder injury forcing him out of a few Brooklyn Nets games this season. The latest game was last night against his former team, the Boston Celtics, who are playing great basketball to start the season.

The multiple-time All-Star has plenty of angry Celtics fans calling for his head after ditching the team this past offseason. The decision was shocking to the many that believed his initial statement of definitely resigning before the 2018-2019 season. The season was another All-Star performance, but the team struggled all year internally to find a balance and trust each other.

Irving was viewed as the leader who wasn’t vocal enough in a positive manner for his teammates. The team never rallied behind him as their leader and often showed signs of rebellion after the former Duke Blue Devil questioned his teammate’s commitment to winning.

During an interview recently with the Athletic, Celtics guard, Marcus Smart spoke candidly about the locker room under Irving’s leadership.

"“[Irving’s] mood grew dark enough at times behind the scenes to impact several layers of the organization. He would go through stretches, sources said, where he just shut off. One assistant coach said he once rode about 30 or 40 flights on an elevator with Irving — and the guard did not say a single word. By February, the organization had realized how much Irving’s mindset could impact the rest of the team."

"“It’s not that we didn’t know how to act (around him),” Smart said. “It’s that we didn’t know how he was going to act. We didn’t know what his moods were and we didn’t know what Kyrie was going through. And that made it tough on us because if somebody’s going through something in their life and you don’t really know what it is, it’s kind of hard to see what’s wrong with him, it’s kind of hard to (provide) some help. It’s not against Kyrie, it’s just a defense mechanism as a human being you have. And he wasn’t here long enough to really be able to open up the way he probably wanted to, and it probably got to him a little bit.”"

Irving not traveling with the Nets to Boston while injured has added fuel to the criticism. Fans in Boston have posted signs calling the former NBA champion a “Coward” outside the arena.

Irving hasn’t been known as a confrontational player, but he must understand the importance of being strong for his current team. The Nets traveling into Boston without their best player at least supporting from the bench is a replica of the toxic environment that plagued Boston last season.

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Nets fans have good reason to be concerned moving forward if Irving is already responding to criticism in this absentee manner.