BOSTON (CBS) — Danny Ainge paid a high price for Kyrie Irving, but he did so with the knowledge that the Celtics will get a top-tier NBA superstar for the next two years — and perhaps longer.
The Vertical’s Chris Mannix joined Toucher & Rich on Wednesday and said that it’s not difficult to imagine Irving signing a long-term contract with Boston once his current deal expires following the 2018-19 season.
“His whole career has been one roller-coaster ride after another,” Mannix said, noting the coaching changes and the organizational change that came with LeBron James’ return to Cleveland. “Boston presents the kind of stability that I think he has long craved. Assuming nothing out of the ordinary happens, I think that Kyrie could play not just two years but 10 years with the Celtics.”
Mannix also said: “Anything can happen of course, he could end up hating Gordon Hayward for some reason. I don’t know. But if you look at it just purely from a 10,000-feet view, I think this is an ideal situation for Irving. He gets to go to a franchise that he’s played against over the last few years, he’s going to play for a great coach in Brad Stevens, the stability that he didn’t have in Cleveland over the last few years, it’s totally different in Boston. Boston is one of the most functional organizations in all of basketball, they’re great from top to bottom, ownership down to the coach.”
Mannix said that Irving isn’t necessarily a No. 1 on a championship team, but he did say that a team could still win if Irving was surrounded by other players of his caliber.
“I just think there’s nothing but upside to this deal. He’s four years younger than Isaiah, I think he’s a better overall player than Isaiah,” Mannix said. “You’ve got to deal these assets at some points, and I think they got themselves the franchise point guard that they’ve needed.”
Mannix also discussed one key aspect: Thomas might still need surgery on his hip.
“I think the hip is a legitimate concern for Isaiah,” Mannix said. “I had Brad [Stevens] on my podcast Monday, Brad said that the early September scan that Isaiah’s supposed to have is going to be what determines what his next move is. I really don’t know that surgery has been completely ruled out here. They’re hoping, they’re optimistic that the hip is not going to require it. But who knows what could happen in the next couple of weeks?”
Mannix described why Irving might have sought greener pastures, despite Cleveland’s spot atop the Eastern Conference.
“This is not a bad guy; he’s in fact, from all accounts and everybody I’ve talked to, a very good guy and a good teammate to be around,” Mannix said. “I don’t think they’re getting a malcontent. I don’t think they’re getting a guy who’s all of a sudden going to be unhappy in Boston in a year or two. I think they’re getting a guy who’s going to embrace being the face of the Celtics.”
Mannix also talked about the relationship betweek Kyrie and LeBron James, the odd desire for Kyrie to leave such a good situation, and more. He also gave a final opinion on the upcoming Mayweather-McGregor fight. Listen to the full interview above.