Danny Ainge addressed a fresh controversy involving Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving during his weekly call with Toucher & Rich on Thursday. Irving was absent from the C’s Game 7 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers due to a minor surgery to repair a deviated septum. This raised eyebrows among some who believed he could have helped the team just with his presence, particularly with younger players like Terry Rozier.
Ainge doesn’t believe Irving being on the bench would’ve made that big of a difference, and that the whole issue has been exaggerated in the wake of the loss.
“I don’t think it’s a big deal at all, personally,” Ainge told T&R. “I think that’s a little bit blown out of proportion. But [Irving] was with Terry and communicating with Terry all along. Having him sit on the bench to calm Terry’s nerves, I don’t know. … I’m just not sure how much of a benefit [that would’ve been].
“It’s a fair criticism, but I think it’s probably blown out of proportion.”
Ainge confirmed that Irving was in New Jersey with his father and daughter during Game 7, and that the All-Star point guard was in “constant contact” with him, coaches, and teammates while he was away from the team. Ainge cited the “unpredictable” NBA playoff schedule as a reason the C’s couldn’t simply push Irving’s surgery back after it had already been planned when the Game 7 time came out.
Ainge also discussed Marcus Smart’s comments about his contract, the latest on Gordon Hayward, and what he knows about burner Twitter accounts … Listen above for the full interview!
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