The Celtics’ offseason has begun after they dropped four straight to the Bucks, culminating in a Game 5 blowout in Milwaukee to put an end on a disappointing season in Boston.
What began with such high hopes, adding Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to a team that reached the conference finals a year ago, ended with a thud and now there are more questions than answers going into this offseason. Will Kyrie Irving re-sign? Will the Celtics still try to make a move for Anthony Davis? What can they add to make necessary improvements to this roster, with or without Irving?
However, one question about what went wrong with the Celtics this season has been called “bullsh*t” by Marcus Smart. The emotional heart of the team was asked if Irving’s leadership, or lack thereof, was a problem for the Celtics and explained that Irving came in to a difficult situation and his leadership was far from the issue of this team.
Smart defends Irving in this, but also indicates that the star and the team never fully meshed when he says “we tried to understand him, but we never really understood him because we’re not in his shoes.” It’s a telling statement, but not one in which Smart is trying to shift blame to Irving. It just highlights the difficulty in building chemistry, particularly with a team that felt it had success and was on a positive path prior to the arrival of a new star.
This summer, Irving will have a decision to make about returning or leaving, with most expecting it to be the latter, but his Celtics teammates, at least publicly, aren’t willing to let him take the brunt of the blame if he is indeed on the way out.