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Jaylen Brown on Kyrie Irving role in Celtics demise last season: ‘It wasn’t his fault’

Brooklyn Nets v Denver Nuggets Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

It will never end.

Jaylen Brown became the latest member of last year’s Celtics team to absolve Kyrie Irving of the blame for Boston’s disappointments. In an interview with Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson — reported by Kristian Winfield — Brown said blame should be shared.

“Kyrie, a lot of the blame was undeserving,” Brown told Robinson. “It wasn’t his fault that certain guys couldn’t take a step back. It wasn’t his fault. That was the front office and coaches fault. He gets a lot of that blame because he was the star, but a lot of that should be on the organization/coaching staff.”

Brown did not identify those at fault, some of whom are no doubt still on the team, among the coaching staff and in the front office.

Irving, of course, has been pilloried by the Boston faithful for allegedly causing the Celtics, a preseason favorite to win it all in 2018-19, to fail miserably, losing in the second round after getting to the conference finals —without the injured Irving— the year before. Irving, who grew up in New Jersey, chose not to exercise his player option this summer and instead joined the team he rooted for as a child, the transplanted Brooklyn Nets.

“It’s in the past,” Brown said. “Kyrie is in a better place in Brooklyn, somewhere his roots are. He’ll be fine ... Yeah, I think [Brooklyn] is where he wanted to be. I’m happy to see him flourish and I think it’s going to be good for the Brooklyn Nets.”

As Winfield notes, Brown is just the latest Celtics player to suggest the problems were broader than Boston fans would like to believe.

“To come into a situation knowing this is a group of guys that had something going before I come here. How will I fit in?,” Marcus Smart said of Irving at the end of last season. “He didn’t want to disrupt that. That says a lot. This is Kyrie Irving we’re talking about, and he’s talking about coming in and not disrupting us.”

“We took him in with full arms and we tried to understand him, but we never really understood him because we’re not in his shoes,” Smart continued. “That’s just a bullshit statement to say his leadership killed us. It’s four other guys out there [on the court], it’s 12, 13 other guys on the team.”

Coach Brad Stevens has also said he didn’t feel Irving was at fault and said he enjoyed coaching Irving, who after all, was second team All-NBA last year.

Boston fans as well as Kendrick Perkins, claimed (spuriously) that Irving faked an injury to avoid playing in Boston the night before Thanksgiving, a game the Nets lost. Irving responded with an Instagram post that criticized the Boston fans and sports media. He has so far missed 15 games with the injury, a shoulder impingement, six prior to the Boston game, eight afterwards.

The two teams will face off again at Boston’s TD Garden on March 3.