Marcus Smart didn't mince words when the notion was presented that Kyrie Irving's leadership hurt the Celtics this season.
When asked if Irving's attitude played a part in those struggles, Smart came to his defense.
"Bull----," Smart said bluntly. "That's bull----. Not one of us on this team knows what Kyrie's been through. Probably a few amount of people in this world know what Kyrie goes through. It was hard for him as well. He was forced into a situation where it was business over the friendships, where he had to come into a situation knowing that, 'This is a group of guys that had something going before I came here. How will I fit in?' He didn't want to disrupt that. That says a lot.
"That's just a bull---- statement to say his leadership killed us," Smart continued. "It's four other guys out there, 12 or 13 other guys on the team, coaches and everything, so to just blame it on one guy is bull----."
After winning Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Bucks, the Celtics dropped each of the next four contests, bringing what's been a tumultuous campaign to a bitter end. Boston appeared to have chemistry issues arise throughout the middle of the season, with Irving at the middle of it.
Celtics point guard Terry Rozier sounded off on the team's struggles after the game by suggesting that players were hesitant to sacrifice personal numbers for the team's goals and were instead focused on "getting paid a lot of money." Celtics coach Brad Stevens admitted the 2018 season was "the most trying" year he has had as a coach.
Irving is set to become a free agent when the NBA offseason begins this summer.