Celtics’ Jayson Tatum bears no ill will toward Kyrie Irving for signing with Nets
Boston Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum has been on record saying that Kyrie Irving got too much blame for the Celtics’ shortcomings during the 2018-19 season. Before the 2018-19 season started, the Celtics were picked to win the Eastern Conference easily. However, Boston was dysfunctional from start to finish, and Irving got most of the blame from the fans and media.
Despite telling Celtics fans he was going to re-sign with the club, Irving wound up signing a four-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets instead. Uncle Drew is now one of the most hated athletes in Boston.
However, Tatum bears no ill will toward Irving for signing with Nets, via All The Smoke with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson:
“His decision to go to Brooklyn, obviously a lot of people were mad and things like that, but us as basketball players, we understand once you get to a certain level and a certain point in your career, you’ve earned the right to make the decision on what makes you happy and what you want to do,” Jayson Tatum said about Kyrie Irving decision’s to leave the Celtics for the Nets.
“So I was happy for him. He wanted to go back home and be closer to his family. I think everybody should have that opportunity.”
Irving averaged 23.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.9 assists last season for the Celtics while shooting 48.7 percent from the field. He made the All-NBA Second Team but wasn’t able to lead Boston on a deep postseason run and bumped heads with head coach Brad Stevens quite often.
The Celtics lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the 2019 playoffs in five games. Boston replaced Irving with Kemba Walker, and the team was having a much better 2019-20 season with him leading the charge. The Celtics were in third place in the Eastern Conference standings before the season was suspended due to COVID-19.