What does Kyrie Irving really need from the Nets?
On Nov. 20, Kyrie Irving returned to the courtroom after an eight-game absence, a punishment for selling an antisemitic movie on his social media accounts after which refusing to apologize. On the time, there have been questions across the NBA about whether or not the Brooklyn Nets might survive the circus he had created, and whether or not Irving’s NBA profession was in jeopardy.
It didn’t take lengthy for Irving to quell these issues. A part of the reason being that he’s performed a number of the greatest basketball of his profession, averaging 27.1 factors per sport on 48.6 % taking pictures for a Nets group that, at 31-20, has established itself as one of many contenders to return out of the East.
But additionally, and extra importantly, upon returning Irving clearly made a degree of being on his greatest conduct. There have been no passive-aggressive feedback, no coy tweets.
That every one lasted two months.
On Jan. 25, Irving’s agent, Shetellia Irving, advised Bleacher Report that she had “reached out” to the Nets a couple of contract extension (Irving’s present contract is ready to run out after this season) and that “the ball is in the Nets’ court to communicate now if their desire is the same.” What did Irving need? A four-year max deal, which might be price roughly $200 million.
That was the primary bomb — seemingly lobbed in an effort to take the negotiations public and scare the Nets. Apparently that didn’t work, as a result of on Friday, Irving knowledgeable the Nets that he needed to be traded earlier than Thursday’s commerce deadline and that in the event that they don’t commerce him, he plans on leaving in free company. The irony is that the Nets, after changing head coach Steve Nash with Jacque Vaughn, have stabilized and have all of the make-up of a championship contender, partly due to Vaughn’s imploring of his group to show their focus towards on-court points versus off-court drama. However Irving has as soon as once more proven the place his priorities lie.
Kyrie Irving requests commerce from the Nets
Colin Cowherd reacts to Irving’s commerce request.
So the place does this all go from right here? The Nets might acquiesce to Irving’s request, but it surely’s exhausting to search out any purpose why they need to. Irving’s not precisely a participant different groups are combating over. We noticed this over the summer time when the group’s negotiations over a contract extension for Irving initially broke down. Irving was given permission by the Nets to look the marketplace for a sign-and-trade possibility; as an alternative, he picked up the one-year participant possibility in his contract. In different phrases: the marketplace for his companies wasn’t there.
There’s no purpose to assume that’d be any totally different now. All Irving has performed since then is added to his resume as a chaos agent. We’ve already heard contenting groups tossed out, together with the Miami Warmth and the Phoenix Suns, but it surely’s exhausting to think about both of these franchises, or virtually any, willingly bringing Irving in.
That mentioned, Irving’s expertise is simple, and there are two groups who’re in determined want of a expertise infusion: the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks. Each are in all probability exterior the present circle of rivalry, and each in all probability assume including Irving would change that.
What might these groups quit? For the Mavericks it will be a package deal centered round Spencer Dinwiddie. For the Lakers, it will be Russell Westbrook and a primary spherical decide for Irving and Joe Harris, whose wage can be required as a result of Westbrook’s cap quantity is so excessive. You may see why the Lakers and Mavs can be into these presents. However we’ll ask once more: What’s in it for the Nets?
We’ve already seen the Nets principally ignore a commerce request from a star. Keep in mind in the summertime when Kevin Durant requested to be traded? Do you bear in mind how the Nets dealt with that?
The Nets know their relationship with Irving is in its remaining levels. They know this complete KD-Kyrie superteam experiment is coming to an finish. In addition they know that, when wholesome, their present group is sweet sufficient to win a title — and that if Irving desires a max deal he’s going to must play nicely for the remainder of the season, and that no deal involving Irving goes to make them higher on the courtroom.
The very best factor the Nets can do is ignore Irving’s request, play out the season after which transfer on from Irving’s contract expires in the summertime.
Yaron Weitzman is an NBA author for FOX Sports activities and the creator of Tanking to the Prime: The Philadelphia 76ers and the Most Audacious Course of within the Historical past of Skilled Sports activities. Observe him on Twitter @YaronWeitzman.
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