Despite Kyrie Irving's rough parting with the Celtics, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge doesn't think fans should boo him when he returns to Boston.
Ainge appeared on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich show on Thursday morning and discussed the upcoming game next Wednesday between the Nets and Celtics at TD Garden. He said he doesn't want fans to be too hard on Irving.
"I think that's a sad commentary," Ainge said. "But I understand it just because I know there's been a lot of negative attention. I understand all that. I just think it's a bad conclusion to come to. It's not really fair."
Irving will likely receive lots of boos from Celtics fans who were upset with him after he signed with the Nets. Early last season Irving shared his intentions to re-sign with Boston but he ended up going with Kevin Durant to Brooklyn this summer as a free agent.
Last year, Irving seemed distant from his teammates and didn't leave Boston on the best of terms. In September, he admitted to the media that he "failed" his teammates last season.
Ainge touched on the Celtics' struggles last year and said the blame shouldn't fall solely on Irving.
"Kyrie was in a good place, and things were looking good for a year and a half and they went sour," he said. "He gets blamed for a lot of the sour last year, but it's much, much bigger than that. I'm grateful that he gave us a chance. It wasn't his fault that it didn’t work out. It was a lot of people's fault, including my own."
Ainge also said he wouldn't mind if TD Garden gave Irving a tribute video for his return but said the decision isn't up to him.