The Celtics made a blockbuster trade last summer to acquire one of the best players in the NBA, who already has publicly vocalized his desire to stay in Boston long-term.
All good, right?
Well, if you ask Jalen Rose, there’s no guarantee the marriage will last.
Kyrie Irving is set to hit the open market next summer, and while the star point guard already has made a verbal commitment to the Celtics, Rose believes there’s a chance Boston could prioritize other players over the five-time All-Star next offseason.
“I think the Boston Celtics have a different issue they’re going to have to tackle as it relates to style of play,” Rose said Wednesday on ESPN’s “Get Up!.” “Kyrie is a terrific scorer, amazing isolation player — not necessarily high volume assists. Are they gonna go with that style and pay him a maximum deal, especially when Gordon Hayward isn’t playing well, and continue to suppress the growth of young players like Tatum, Brown, Rozier — who made a name for himself — and Smart, who they signed in the offseason?
“There isn’t 12 players I would take over Kyrie Irving. He’s just that dynamic with the basketball. But the strength of his game is isolation. The Boston Celtics thrive in pass, cut, move — let the open guy dictate what happens with the next play. And so when he has the ball, it clearly takes away from the growth of the other players. So he’s terrific, but it’s going to be interesting to see if they actually decide to give him that maximum contract at the end of this year versus a team that could get three first-round draft picks this year. That’s how well the Boston Celtics have done creating assets. So it’s going to be fascinating to see how this dynamic plays out.”
While the future is incredibly bright for the players Rose mentioned, none are at Irving’s level just yet. Jayson Tatum appears to be the most likely candidate of the bunch to become a full-fledged superstar, but is his ceiling high enough to move on from Irving?
Rose’s questions likely will be answered via the 2018-19 campaign, as a failure to reach expectations could force the C’s to reevaluate their future plans.
Thumbnail photo via Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports