Celtics can’t fear Kyrie Irving’s potential departure

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 11: Kyrie Irving
BOSTON, MA - MARCH 11: Kyrie Irving /

Kyrie Irving isn’t a lock to sign a new contract with the Celtics next summer, but Boston can’t act in fear of the point guard possibly leaving.

There’s always a possibility that Kyrie Irving might leave Boston in the summer of 2019. Danny Ainge can’t construct his summer plans around that potential eventuality though. Instead, the Celtics need to continue their quest to build a championship team with Irving as their star point guard.

In particular, reports have surfaced recently claiming Irving might leave the Celtics for the Knicks next summer. Evidently, Irving told several of his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates about his desire to play for New York before his trade to Boston. There’s no evidence he’s clarified his intentions to anyone since that time.

Some executives might be tempted to make moves to safeguard their teams against a star like Irving leaving via free agency. That would be the best way for Ainge to ruin Boston’s chances of winning an NBA title in the near future. The savvy GM needs to do everything in his power to build the most dynamic roster possible. That’s the best way to make sure Irving wants to stay for the long haul.

Specifically, the Celtics need to dismiss any potential ideas they might be harboring about prioritizing Terry Rozier over Irving. “Scary Terry” did a great job of leading the team in Irving’s absence, but he is not a special point guard. Rozier might develop into an above average NBA starter in time, but he lacks the stellar offensive skills that make Irving special.

Irving’s ability to create quality offense out of nothing separates him from almost every other lead guard in the league. The Celtics don’t need to rely on his improvisation all that often due to the stellar coaching of Brad Stevens. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t value Irving’s unique offensive talents. They could easily be the difference in Boston winning a championship or falling just short in a tough playoff series.

Fortunately for Ainge and the rest of the Celtics front office, the team is still loaded with assets that can continue to improve the team. Boston is still owed protected first rounders from the Grizzlies and Clippers in the future. Of course, the real crown jewel of their future assets is the better of the 76ers and Kings’ first round selections in 2019.

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Those future picks, in concert with the young talent on the Celtics roster can be deployed in any number of ways to strengthen the team. The important thing for Boston is to continue to make moves without expressing any fear. The Celtics are uniquely qualified to take over the Eastern Conference this offseason. Ainge can’t afford to let any trepidation about Kyrie Irving’s future in boss ruin the team’s immediate future.