Anonymous Celtics Player: Kyrie Irving 'Hard to Play With. It's All About Him'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2019

MILWAUKEE, WI - MAY 8: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics looks on during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on May 8, 2019 at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

An anonymous member of the Boston Celtics said it's "hard" to play with point guard Kyrie Irving.

On Thursday, Jeff Goodman of Stadium wrote an article that described Irving as a "chemistry-killer with no semblance of leadership qualities who would call out his younger teammates publicly and even do the same with his coach."

"Everyone respects his talent, but he's hard to play with," the Celtics player told Goodman. "It's all about him."

Boston entered the season with championship aspirations.

Irving and Gordon Hayward were set to return from injuries to bolster a roster that reached the Eastern Conference Finals last year thanks to marked improvement from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Instead, it seemed like the Celtics became victims of too much depth as players struggled to produce consistently in their assigned roles. Head coach Brad Stevens accepted blame for being unable to find a rotation that worked after the Milwaukee Bucks bounced the C's from the second round of the playoffs in five games.

"I did a bad job. At the end of the day, your team doesn't find its best fit together, it's on you," Stevens told reporters. "I'll be the first to say, as far as any other year I've been a head coach, it's certainly been the most trying."

Meanwhile, Irving was transparent about having a hard time serving as the top dog on a team expected to make a deep postseason run and potentially even win an NBA title.

In January, the first overall pick in the 2011 draft said he called former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James to "apologize for being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips."

"I did a poor job of setting an example for these young guys what it's like to get something out of your teammates," Irving said. "Going forward, I want to test these young guys, but I can't do it publicly. That was a learning experience for me, realizing the magnitude of my voice and what I mean to these guys."

Now the Celtics head into an offseason that may see widespread roster changes, highlighted by the possible loss of Irving, who can utilize a player option in his contract to become an unrestricted free agent.

The six-time All-Star selection hasn't seemed like a good fit across two years in Boston, but the front office may still struggle to replicate his high-level production if he leaves via the open market.