Enes Kanter was formally introduced as a member of the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, and he immediately endeared himself to the fan base with a hilarious zinger he took at Kyrie Irving.
While speaking with reporters during his introductory press conference, Kanter was asked why he chose to wear jersey No. 11 with the Celtics. He said that is his old jersey number, plus he wants to be the reason no one else will ever wear it in Boston.
Enes Kanter on why he chose #11 pic.twitter.com/Nfp1kGY6Aj
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) July 17, 2019
As you probably know, Irving said the same thing in his introductory presser with the Celtics. He then spent two seasons with the team and managed to rub a whole bunch of people the wrong way before bolting in free agency.
Kanter may not improve Boston’s interior defense, but perhaps he can make up for his defensive inefficiencies with a great sense of humor and more shots at Irving. Celtics fans would love that.
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Kyrie Irving is no longer a Boston Celtic, and one of his former teammates seems to be enjoying that fact.
New Celtics big man Enes Kanter posted a picture to Instagram on Friday of several of the team’s fans clowning their former guard by taking Irving’s old jersey and covering his name with a piece of tape that read “Kanter” instead. Celtics wing Jaylen Brown then proceeded to ‘like’ Kanter’s post.
Enes Kanter posted a picture of Celtics fans covering the Irving on Kyrie's jersey with Kanter and Jaylen Brown liked the picture pic.twitter.com/nAZUwTBdtA
— Heart of NBA (@HeartofNBA) July 13, 2019
While this merely could have been a case of Brown being amused by the antics of Boston’s fans, he and Irving did not exactly have the greatest relationship during their two seasons together. For one, Brown called out Uncle Drew for finger-pointing during their struggles in January and also had to sacrifice the shot attempts that opened up when Irving was injured in the 2018 postseason.
With the six-time All-Star signing with the Atlantic Division rival Brooklyn Nets this summer, you can bet that both sides are going to be circling their first matchup on the calendar next season.
Kawhi Leonard certainly tried everything he could to being the league’s top free agents with him to his ultimate destination.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported Monday that, in addition to his successful efforts to recruit Paul George and an unsuccessful bid to recruit Kevin Durant, Leonard tried to talk guard Kyrie Irving into playing on the same team with him.
We already knew that Leonard called Durant and tried to convince him to join him on the Los Angeles Clippers. By that point, however, Durant had settled on going to the Brooklyn Nets with Irving and ultimately turned down Leonard’s overtures. While the timing is unclear, it’s fair to think that Leonard probably got a similar response from Irving, considering the two newest Nets were apparently plotting their move to Brooklyn long before it officially happened.
Nobody could accuse Leonard of lacking ambition. He was undeterred after swinging and missing twice, and ultimately connected when he got a hold of George. He only needed to win over one superstar to join him in Los Angeles, and it appears that the third time was the charm.
Bobby Portis was one of the players the New York Knicks signed after they missed out on superstar free agents Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, and the former first-round pick says his new team should have known it would have plenty of extra money to spend this summer.
Portis signed a two-year, $31 million deal with the Knicks not long after free agency began. The Knicks showed interest in him early on, and he knew they would have the cap space to sign him. Why? According to the 6-foot-11 forward, it was the worst-kept secret in the NBA that Durant and Irving were heading to Brooklyn.
“I knew what was gonna happen in February,” Portis said, via Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. “We all knew that (Durant and Kyrie Irving would go to Brooklyn). Everybody knew that. I just don’t think the media knew that. Us basketball players, we all knew that.”
Portis said he is not going to reveal his source but added “we all know where they were going.”
Players around the NBA talk, and it was probably quite obvious that Durant and Irving were committed to playing together. One player who is better than Kyrie even tried to recruit Durant and had no luck, so that says a lot. Irving also seemed 100 percent committed to the Nets from the start. Put all of that together and you have two guys who are headed to Brooklyn.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have each had their fair share of well-documented differences with their teammates, but one retired NBA player who shared a locker room with both does not envision any of that carrying over now that they are joining forces with the Brooklyn Nets.
Kendrick Perkins, who played with Durant in Oklahoma City and Irving in Cleveland, told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that it will be “great for KD and Kyrie to be in the New York area.” He also said Durant was not feeling appreciated enough with the Golden State Warriors.
“I have no doubt they will co-exist,” Perkins said of Irving and Durant. “Kyrie needs to be able to play freely and just be himself and let KD be the leader and the playmaker. I think Kyrie will fall in line. After he left Cleveland he called ‘(LeBron James) to apologize to him. He realized that he is not that dude and that he needs to play alongside a guy like KD.”
The last part will probably be the most interesting storyline to watch in Brooklyn. Perkins added that Durant has finally “got his own team,” but you have to wonder if Irving views it that way. While it’s true that he called LeBron last season to apologize for how he acted in Cleveland, that does not mean he wants to take a back seat to Durant. Irving is confident in his abilities, and he probably thinks he’s the same caliber of player as Durant.
Perkins’ assessment of the situation essentially confirms what was reported about Durant’s desire to leave Golden State, but very few people would be surprised if he experienced some growing pains with Irving — especially since Kyrie is going to play a full season with the Nets before Durant even touches the floor. That could make things more complicated than they are anticipating.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving reportedly planned to team up together some time ago.
According to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report, Durant and Irving had decided after a series of conversations prior to the start of the 2018-19 season that they wanted to play together, though they didn’t quite know where at that time.
Beck notes that the two did initially consider the New York Knicks, but the team’s disastrous season, coupled with the Brooklyn Nets’ success, led to the two stars dismissing the Knicks quickly. They felt that the Nets could offer the better supporting cast, infrastructure, and front office. Neither player was reportedly keen on being planted as a “savior” figure that they would have been had they joined the Knicks either.
Durant, Beck notes, never would have joined the Knicks alone, and talk of the team missing out on him due to their unwillingness to offer a max deal is a smokescreen.
There were other reasons that Durant left, including some disillusionment with the Golden State Warriors. However, it certainly sounds like this was in the offing far longer than anyone publicly knew.
The Boston Celtics know they’ll be losing Kyrie Irving and getting Kemba Walker, but they’re reportedly interested in some extra maneuvering to help themselves in the free agent market.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Celtics are interested in a sign-and-trade that would send Irving to the Brooklyn Nets and Terry Rozier to the Charlotte Hornets. This would allow the Celtics to create a full mid-level exception to bring in another supporting free agent.
Sources: Boston's showing interest in a 3-team sign-and-trade w/ Kyrie Irving (Nets), Kemba Walker (Celtics) and Terry Rozier (Hornets). Boston wants to create a full MLE and would likely need to surrender at least a first-round pick to Nets. So far, talks are exploratory.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2019
This is why the Celtics have not yet renounced the rights to Rozier, a restricted free agent. Given that Rozier has interest elsewhere, he may not be happy about it, but with Boston still in control of his rights, there’s not a lot he can do. While not close, it’s a glimpse into the chatter going on behind the scenes to make all this roster shuffling work in an efficient way for everyone.