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Celtics’ Danny Ainge says Kyrie Irving ‘can be the best player in the world’

Danny Ainge, Kyrie Irving, Celtics

Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge had a sense of relief after his cornerstone player, Kyrie Irving, recently reassured the front office of his commitment to the team, noting the sky is the limit now that their partnership is secure and his evolution as a leader will only take him on the path of being “the best player in the world.”

“I think he feels more comfortable with everything in his life and the organization and where he is as a player,” Ainge said, bringing up Irving during the interview unsolicited, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

“I think he’s anxious to be a leader, not anxious to just lead the team in scoring or be the most efficient player on our team, but I think he really wants to hold the guys to a high standard.”

Irving’s presence in the locker room as a leader and on the court as a perennial 20-plus-point scorer can surely boost Boston’s championship hopes, but Ainge knows his potential goes way beyond a game, a month, or a series.

“I don’t know to what extent, but it has accelerated our timeline to the point where Kyrie is one of those players that can be the best player in the gym on any given day against any given team,” Ainge said. “He can be the best player in the world. He can add a lot of juice to your team and his teammates a lot of confidence.”

The Celtics admirably got within a game of reaching the NBA Finals last season without Irving and Gordon Hayward, their two best players, and it could have been a completely different story if either of them was there to battle it out at their full potential.

Having secured Irving, Ainge will have to move steadily and figure out who will stay around, as this loaded core is bound to present financial burdens by keeping all of their pieces. However, a potential addition of Anthony Davis could make the Celtics’ championship hopes into an outright reality.