Kyrie Irving addresses Celtics' playoff sweep of Nets, watching ex-team in NBA Finals

Kyrie weighs in on Celtics sweeping Nets, watching ex-team in Finals originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets had quite the chaotic offseason -- and Irving's former team is partly to blame.

The Boston Celtics swept the Nets out of the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs, prompting speculation that Durant and Irving would disband in Brooklyn. But Irving surprisingly picked up his $37 million player option to remain with the Nets, while Durant was forced to stay in Brooklyn after a failed trade request.

During a recent appearance on the "Boyz Night" podcast, Irving lamented the Nets' disappointing playoff exit but vowed he and his team will fare better if they face the Celtics in the postseason again.

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"It was meant to happen like that -- motivation, bro," Irving said. "We needed that humbling experience, especially going against the Celtics. It was already built to be that matchup. We gonna see them again; we gonna have to. They're going to be where they're going to be."

Irving spent two seasons with the Celtics from 2017-18 to 2018-19, joining the team during Jayson Tatum's rookie year and Jaylen Brown's sophomore campaign. The mercurial point guard didn't exactly jell with the young players while in Boston but suggested he was proud to watch Tatum and Brown lead the team's 2022 run to the NBA Finals.

"Those young’uns over there in Boston, I got to see them grow up," Irving said. "So, to see them do what they did last year on the Finals stage, making it that far -- I'm glad they had to go through us."

While many Celtics fans despise Irving for how he handled his Boston exit -- telling fans he wanted to re-sign with the team prior to the 2018-19 season only to bolt for the Nets in 2019 free agency -- the 30-year-old reflected fondly on his brief tenure with the team.

"I had a good time in Boston, bro," Irving said. "I was going there since I was probably six years old to a college basketball camp at Boston University (where his father played in college). I always had family there. I spent a lot of time there. But when I played there, man, I met my wife there and we settled down. So a lot of good memories. Just on the court, things didn’t work out as I would have liked."

That's an understatement from Irving, who is trying to avoid burning bridges with his third NBA team. But as Irving mentioned, if his Nets want to make a serious playoff push in 2023, they'll likely need to go through Boston.