"I failed [my Celtics teammates] in the sense that I didn't give them everything I could have during that season, especially with the amount of pieces that we had", Irving said Friday morning at Brooklyn Nets media day.
Irving said he has since reached out to ex-teammates, as well as Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, to tell them that he cares about them "as human beings".
"We all know K wasn't ready to play in that environment", Irving said.
We now know some of the reasons why Kyrie's final year in Boston was such a mess, one of which (grief) is understandable. "And now I'm here to protect that".
Of course, everything changed after that, with the Celtics stumbling out of the playoffs in the second round following a season of frustration. He lasted just 12 minutes before going down with a ruptured Achilles tendon that required surgery. That came to fruition, as Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan both ended up signing with the Nets. And then two weeks later, things just got really, really rocky for me in terms of when I left, after the Phoenix game, I went to my grandfather's memorial.
"Basketball and the joy I had from it was sucked away from me", Irving said at media day. "Just watching games and playing against them and seeing the continuity throughout the last couple of years, it was pretty easy to figure out what kind of team and what kind of organization this place is".
And extreme caution will be part of that. For me, I responded in ways that are uncharacteristic.
And another star duo - like James and Davis, like Westbrook and Harden - is now formed in Brooklyn with Irving and Durant, though it'll likely take a year for it to be seen on the court. They were on the phone together in the early hours of June 30 - Irving recalled it being 4:16 a.m. - when they made their decision to all sign in Brooklyn.
He is ready, he said, to snuff out the memory of turbulent days in Boston. "I didn't want to come out and say that this was bothering me, or I'm in a depression at this point in dealing with the death of my grandfather". I didn't really think about what I was leaving behind or like what we accomplished. Asked about Durant's possible availability this season in Brooklyn - one he is expected to miss while rehabbing - Kyrie insinuated KD isn't telling the whole truth about his time with the Warriors and his return in The Finals.
"I felt like it was a time for a change and I wanted to play for a new team and simply put I just did it", he said.
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