"The part of the thing was that Kyrie Irving didn't like Boston," ESPN's Jackie MacMullan reported on The Hoop Collective Podcast (h/t RealGM). "I've been told this by many people. He didn't like living in Boston. He just didn't. By the end, he had issues with Brad [Stevens]. By the end, he had issues with Danny [Ainge]. By the end, he had issues with pretty much all of us."
Irving is an unrestricted free agent and widely believed to be heading elsewhere, with the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks often mentioned as his top suitors. He's coming off arguably the best season of his career individually, making second-team All-NBA for the first time and his sixth All-Star appearance.
The city of Boston never seemed to warm up to Irving in the same way it did to Isaiah Thomas, the point guard who was traded for Kyrie and shared a special bond with the fans. Those relationships are two-way streets, but one could easily argue that Irving faced a somewhat uphill battle in replacing Thomas despite being a better player.
The issues within the Celtics locker room were well-documented throughout the season. There were team meetings, followed by thawing periods, followed by another falling out, which led to the cycle seemingly repeating throughout the disappointing year. By his own admission, Irving said he failed as a leader in certain respects.
Comments made by Terry Rozier also highlighted the discord behind the scenes, particularly between the young players and veterans.
That Irving had issues with the Celtics organization as a whole should come as no surprise, given the team did little to hide the fissures.