“I don’t know there’s anything anyone individually necessarily feels like they should have done or could have done,” Stevens said when asked if he wishes he could have done anything different with Irving. “That’s part of free agency. You can go where you want at the end of the day. “I enjoyed Kyrie. I like Kyrie, and I wish him nothing but health and success. I think anytime you go through a year like we went through, where you don’t necessarily meet expectations – on some years that might be a good year but on others it’s not — I think there’s probably going to be some change. And I don’t fault him one bit for choosing to follow whatever he wants to do. That’s his right.” Like the rest of us, Irving spent much of the offseason uncertain about Irving’s status before July 1st. He said he had not talked to the point guard much since the season ended and kept his thoughts cordial when reflecting upon the two seasons with the All-Star. “I don’t really look at it from the standpoint of where we lost, what part of the season we lost in. It’s just you spend two years together, you wish him well and you move on,” he said.
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“I want Kyrie to find happiness,” Stevens says. “If he does move on, I wish him nothing but good health and success. I saw a lot of great qualities in him.” Those qualities have been muted by the scorn of a jilted fan base that feels duped and betrayed by its point guard and his soon-to-be former teammates, who seemingly were assembled for a memorable title run. “I really don’t think it’s anyone’s fault,” Stevens says. “If you blame anyone, it’s me. I’m the guy who couldn’t fit the pieces.”
Kyrie Irving appeared to question Brad Stevens’ coaching strategy after Kemba Walker scored 18 of his game-high 36 points in the fourth quarter to rally Charlotte to a 124-117 victory over the Celtics. The Hornets closed Saturday night’s home game on a 30-5 run that included all 18 of Walker’s fourth-quarter points. The Hornets trailed 112-94 with 8 minutes, 22 seconds remaining.
Asked afterward how hard it is to stop Walker when he’s playing so well, Irving said, “It’s one-on-one, pride.” “Down the stretch, try to come in and help as much as possible. We should have probably trapped him a little bit more, like every team does in the league,” Irving said. “But we didn’t. Torches us every time we play him. So it’s no surprise.”
Jay King: Brad Stevens wants the Celtics to have better spacing around Kyrie: “That’s something we talked about yesterday when we got together for film, just to say we need to be better at giving him the space so when doubles do come we can take advantage of it more effectively.”
Chris Forsberg: Kyrie on The Jump asked to make case for Brad for Coach of the Year. “Oh man, well that’s easy. That guy is so diligent and strategic in his approach. … I think that we’ll relish in the opportunity to get to know one another over this year and hopefully a few years to come.”
Kyrie Irving tried to explain what separates Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens during an appearance on JJ Redick’s podcast Friday. “What is it that makes him so great?” asked Redick, the Philadelphia 76ers guard. “Because everybody for a couple of years it was like, oh, Brad runs great ATOs — after timeout plays. Like, he’s got great ATOs, great set pieces. Is it in-game stuff, is it discipline, what is it?” “He brings the ultimate unwavering confidence, yet so chill, but assertive, demanding, but he does it in the just most unique way,” Irving replied. “And it’s like almost bringing college to the NBA. I feel like we’re a very professional team, but the way we run things and the way we demand excellence out of each other is something like being on a college team. Just our film study, our preparation, our walkthroughs, our shootarounds. “He has adjusted to the NBA life but yet he still remains and has the high-character integrity of being that up-and-coming college coach that he was. And he was great in college, and then made the transition into the league. He didn’t necessarily have the best of teams, but he demanded excellence out of them, and he was always unwavering, he was always chill. And he demands it out of you. I keep saying demands, but… You want to play for him, you want to do it.”
JJ Redick followed up by asking Irving if he had any comparisons for Stevens. “No. No,” Kyrie Irving said. “Anybody, no. He’s Brad Stevens. And when you’re doing that, that means you’ve done something special. And he has yet to be on the plateau of a championship winner but he’s definitely on his way.”
Irving has been complimentary of Stevens and he has emphasized how much trust he has in his system. Krzyzewski said that’s evident just from watching Irving and seeing his interactions with his new coach. He said it is clear Stevens is allowing Irving to play with freedom and confidence, and that the two appear to be “a perfect match.” “I see it in their eyes and I see it in their actions,” Krzyzewski said. “Also, the fact that Brad is allowing Kyrie to lead in real time. That’s the best thing that can happen for a coach, where you have somebody on the court who’s leading while the game is going on. You’re not waiting for a huddle or whatever. That’s happening already, and that’s only going to grow. It’s a tremendous talent for a coach to have for a team, and a lot of people don’t have it. I’m telling you, real-time leadership while the game is going on, and I see it. It’s really neat to watch. I love watching how this is growing for them.”
The relationship between Irving and coach Brad Stevens is building in late-game situations, but Irving said Saturday it’s pretty much a teacher-student relationship. “There’s open dialogue but we prepare for [late in games],” Irving said. “He understands the talent that I have at that point, especially in the fourth quarter. But I also understand his brilliant mind, so when we’re preparing for walkthroughs or simulating situations then it’s kind of easy to go off one another. I’m able to see the reads and what’s going to happen and he makes the play calls. We’re just continuously building that trust for one another, so it’s pretty easy.”
Irving has long lauded Stevens’s tactical decisions, and said the dialogue is essentially one-sided. “Ain’t too much trading [ideas]; he’s the man, so for me I just try to soak up as much knowledge as possible,” Irving said. “Just being in the passenger’s seat, it’s like having a driving-school teacher. He’s driving you the whole time and he’s able to put you in the driving seat sometimes and you’re able to see the road. When you’re able to bounce ideas and have that type of connection, and it’s still developing, it’s pretty awesome. He does most of the teaching; I’m just there listening, just constantly taking as much knowledge as I can.”
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August 3, 2021 | 3:46 am EDT Update
Pau, 41, confirmed his retirement on COPE, stating that he will now reflect and assess his future, while he has not decided about retirement yet. He spent the previous season with FC Barcelona. During his time with the senior Spanish NT, he has won 11 medals in three different international competitions, including gold in the 2006 FIBA World Cup and gold at the 2009, 2011 and 2015 EuroBasket.
Ben Golliver: Spain coach Sergio Scariolo on the end of an era: “This is a time to really enjoy the moment. Being a part of a legend is a privilege. … I couldn’t even dream of anything like this when I took over. … Our link will be there forever.”
Gary Washburn: Jayson Tatum on #Celtics trades: “You always hate to see guys leave, especially guys you build a relationship with. I guess that’s the nature of it. As a player all you can do is show up for training camp and whoever is there is there and get ready to play.” #Celtics #Tokyo2020