Antoine Walker is not backing down from the comments he made shredding Kyrie Irving’s leadership.
The three-time All-Star noted he wanted the Celtics guard to re-sign with Boston in the summer, but made it clear he doesn’t see Irving as “a true Celtic.”
Appearing on WEEI with Marc James, the former Celtic took his criticisms a step further, and said he does not think Irving ever wanted to be a Celtic in the first place.
“Immediately when you become a Celtic, you understand the tradition, you understand what the Celtics organization is all about, the fanbase, you get that when you come in,” Walker said, as transcribed by WEEI.com. “But to be a true Celtic, the want to be there has to be there, and the want to put another banner up. I think Kyrie got traded there. I don’t necessarily believe the Celtics was one of his landing spots. I think he was OK with it because they have some young talent, and he was willing to see how it works. He knew he had two years before he could hit the free agent market, so I think he came in with the right attitude, but to be a true Celtic, you’ve got to want to be there.”
Irving’s intentions to stay in Boston have been hazy of late, with the star point guard deflecting most comments about his future. And with the Celtics’ recent struggles, it’s getting harder and harder to envision Irving being excited about his future in Boston, as Walker points out.
“I know a lot of guys don’t like to give away what they’re doing in the summer and they like to just play it out, but he hasn’t been definitive in the way to say, ‘Hey look, I’m a Celtic, we’re building something here, we’re building a championship team,’” Walker said. “His comments in the media haven’t been strong, and haven’t been Celtic-like. When you’re a Celtic, you believe that you can win here and get it done.
“I believe his goals are totally different. I believe he wants to win. I would start my franchise with him, I think he’s one of the great players in the league. I think he’s a closer. But a leader, being a leader and a true Celtics is not necessarily what Kyrie is. We know his leadership skills have struggled because he reached out to LeBron James about being a leader.”
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