Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets are reportedly having problems, and there’s a real chance he would test the free agency waters if he declines the player option after June 29. With the latest developments, teams will be skeptical about offering him longer contracts, but Ky still holds the trump card.
Why teams would be skeptical giving Irving what he wants
On his NBA resume, Irving won a championship in 2016. Since then, he hasn’t added another to that list. Despite joining stacked teams in Boston and Brooklyn, Irving also hasn’t reached the Finals without LeBron James. Given that he barely impacted the squads he’d been on since the Cleveland Cavaliers days, you can’t blame front offices for thinking twice about trading for him.
Kyrie publicly stated his desire to remain in Boston. He also said the same thing in Brooklyn, but just months after, he’s doing things that could change that promise again. Also, Irving brings distractions to the locker room. Remember the vaccine mandate that resulted in him missing half of the games the Nets played last season? There’s allegedly more to that.
In the aftermath of the impasse between the Nets and Irving, Stephen A. Smith reported that the All-Star guard conducted practices on his own, after head coach Steve Nash had just ended his practices with the team. It could be because he wasn’t vaccinated, so he decided to train on his own, but it sends a wrong message to those not privy to the situation: Irving only thinks about himself and does not integrate more with the team.
Let’s add the injuries he’s suffered in recent years. Yes, all athletes suffer from injuries, but availability should be a priority for any front office about to offer max deals to any athletes. The thing with Kyrie is he had not been available in many games due to injuries and personal matters. With his superstar status and clout, he could afford to miss games due to personal matters, but to use it as a shield or an excuse to party while the season is ongoing is downright unfair and absurd. No team would want to pay millions to any player who does their job on a part-time basis. But, Kyrie knows he still holds the trump card to redeem himself.
Winning a title changes everything
Adding another title to his NBA resume should be his most urgent goal. He must prove to the NBA world that he still is Kyrie Irving whose talents could make any team instant contenders. At 30 years old, the Australian-born-American still has around four to five good years left to accomplish that if teams remain interested in him.
Irving has a chance to flip the narrative and give the bashers and doubters a middle finger salute. But where could he start writing the next chapter of his redemption arc? The New York Knicks and the L.A. Lakers allegedly expressed interest. The Nets are also in the picture. But how much can they expect in return from Ky? He remains one of the best in the league when he plays. But are teams willing to take the extra distractions that come with a complicated character like Irving?
Winning shuts down all the critics. It’s Kyrie Irving’s trump card and last chance to earn the respect he desperately wants and probably deserves.