Danny Ainge knew during the season that Kyrie Irving was leaving

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t a well kept secret that All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving was looking to bolt the Boston Celtics after two seasons.

Things turned ugly between the NBA champ and his now former Celtics squad. But how bad were they?

In talking to the media on Wednesday, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge indicated that he had a good idea Irving would depart in free agency as early as March.

This is interesting in that the timeline puts Boston in the midst of their late-season run to the playoffs. Even with Irving as the face of the franchise, Ainge was already thinking about going in a different direction.

Even prior to Irving signing with the Brooklyn Nets, it became clear that returning to Boston was not an option. Whether this included Ainge and Co. closing the door on that possibility remains to be seen.

What we do know is that Boston will now be headed by fellow All-Star Kemba Walker as the face of the franchise. Having someone that actually wants to be in Beantown could be a boon for the championship contenders.