Kyrie Irving is so loyal to the Brooklyn Nets that he’d rather retire than be ousted from the squad
No NBA player confuses more than Kyrie Irving. He is perhaps the most talented NBA player we have ever seen, capable of amazing moves in addition to being an incredible goalscorer. He also uses his platform to help the less fortunate and promote overlooked topics.
But Irving’s unique take on the world leads him to openly discuss dangerous conspiracy theories and exhibit odd behavior. This has led some to wonder if the Nets would be wise to trade him in for another star. Is Irving Unloading the Right Decision? Or do the Brooklyn Nets need him to win the championship they dream of?
Kyrie Irving is an NBA genius and infuriating personality
You can deeply admire Irving’s presence in the NBA or angrily shake your head at his conduct. But there is no doubt that his range of ball handling movements and edge finishes remain extraordinary. Irving is a proven playoff player and nearly 40% three-point shooter for his career.
But you can never talk about Irving and just talk about basketball. His ability to do anything at any time is more disturbing than exciting when he’s doing it off the field. It all started when he said he believed in the flat earth theory. Now, beliefs in problematic theories are more popular than ever. But Irving’s other antics overlap with his basketball career.
At the start of last season, he described the media as his “pawns”. Irving decided he would pay the fines and skip all press conferences. It drew tons of derision from the media, including Charles Barkley. (Irving eventually apologized for his position.) The Nets star then left the team for mental health reasons. Then he got caught throwing a birthday party for his sister.
Are all criticisms justified? Not necessarily. Yes, most of his actions surrounding his departure from the Boston Celtics were immature. But the reaction from former fans was racist, something Irving had the foresight to point out when they reunited in the first round of the playoffs last year.
The 29-year-old has done a lot of purely noble things with his platform and resources. Last year, Irving paid the tuition fees for nine Lincoln University students. He bought a house for George Floyd’s family and donated $ 1.5 million to WNBA players who chose not to play in the bubble.
Irving has made a point of sharing his family roots with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, showing a side of Indigenous life rarely featured in the media. There is something to be said about Irving’s willingness to be vulnerable about his feelings and to improve himself.
Then you read a report from Fox Sports claiming the playmaker is not vaccinated against the coronavirus – meaning he could be forced out of all of the Nets’ home games until he is ‘he gets the hang of it – and you remember why being in Irving’s corner can be maddening.
Would the Brooklyn Nets better trade him?
An unexpected consequence of Ben Simmons’ protracted saga: Prominent voices in the NBA are speculating on Irving’s trade for the fleeing Sixer. And commerce makes sense on paper.
With Kevin Durant and James Harden, the Nets don’t need to rely on Irving as a high-volume offensive creator. This is a rare situation where Simmons’ lack of a jumper wouldn’t nullify his pass and defense. Irving is also increasingly prone to damage. Injuries have ended his season in three of the past four years.
For Philly, Irving would be the perfect remedy for all of their playoff struggles. He would give them the half-court threat to provide Joel Embiid the spacing he needs to thrive. But according to Stephen A. Smith, the exchange stands no chance of happening thanks to one simple fact: Durant and Irving are too close to sanction a deal.
The duo arrived in Brooklyn as a package. They’ve basically been running the organization since they signed on. Nothing happens without their tacit approval. Irving’s trade would be more trouble than it is likely worth for the Nets.
So far, Irving’s only public response to the rumors has been a cryptic Instagram post about outdoor noise management. But there was also this tweet from Fox Sports’ Nick Wright:
Considering how powerful the Nets are, the threat of Irving blowing up this business is probably enough to keep his place.
The nets are stacked whether Irving is there or not
Regardless of Irving’s status, the Nets enter next season as title favorites. They were one shoe size smaller from beating the future champions with Irving out and Harden limping on a bad hamstring.
Concerns about the team’s lack of chemistry or defense turned out to be less impactful than having three out of control goal scorers on the pitch. Their biggest problem was that injuries kept their Big Three from playing together more often. They had only had eight regular-season threesome games before the playoffs. You wouldn’t bet it would happen again.
Brooklyn had a lot of offensive talent for the offseason. But the rich got richer by adding Patty Mills and rookie Cameron Thomas to deliver an extra punch from the bench. They also beefed up their interiors with Paul Millsap, James Johnson and LaMarcus Aldridge. (Aldridge is now cleared to play after being forced to retire due to a heart problem.)
Durant and Harden are high-level offensive centers on their own. Having them both, and actors who match their skills, is nonsense. Even if Irving should not be counted on throughout the season, the Nets still have the quality of being the last team in contention in June.
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