Boston Celtics fans didn't need to have Kyrie Irving in the building to let him know how they really felt about him in wake of his departure to the Brooklyn Nets this offseason. Irving, who has been out since November 16 with what is being diagnosed as a right shoulder impingement, did not travel with the team when the Nets visited TD Garden to play the Celtics on Wednesday, but the crowd still came prepared with an impassioned "Kyrie sucks" chant and "Coward" sign directed at the star point guard.
Irving assured the crowd of Celtics faithful during a fan event at TD Garden in October 2018 that he had every intention of staying in Boston long-term when he said, "If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here." Kyrie ended up changing his mind, and joining his good friend Kevin Durant in Brooklyn.
Despite being given the keys to drive the Celtics as he saw fit, Irving was never fully satisfied playing for Boston. In an interview with The Athletic, Marcus Smart opened up on what was going on behind-the-scenes with Kyrie last season, and how it affected the team as a whole.
"It's not that we didn’t know how to act (around him)," Smart said. "It's that we didn’t know how he was going to act. We didn't know what his moods were and we didn't know what Kyrie was going through. And that made it tough on us because if somebody's going through something in their life and you don't really know what it is, it's kind of hard to see what’s wrong with him, it's kind of hard to (provide) some help."
"It's not against Kyrie, it’s just a defense mechanism as a human being you have," he continued. "And he wasn’t here long enough to really be able to open up the way he probably wanted to, and it probably got to him a little bit." Irving's much talked about "mood swings" have allegedly made their way to Brooklyn, which reportedly "makes Nets officials queasy."
For the Celtics, their time with Irving is a thing of the past, and now they can look forward to building themselves back into becoming a bonafide title contender with Kemba Walker.