In the next issue of People: Brooklyn Nets Edition, we’ll talk about Kevin Durant’s new massage chair, James Harden’s grooming routine, and whether Kyrie Irving will actually…sorry, what? Oh, this is a sports website? My bad. I’ll get out of your hair.
If the Kyrie Irving trade rumors you’ve heard lately sound like utter and complete nonsense, it’s because they are. We think.
One week ago, NBA reporter Matt Sullivan said some pretty spicy things on the Celtics Lab podcast:
"“I’ve heard that Nets ownership was quite upset with Kyrie’s pause, especially that maskless party that turned his psuedo-paternity leave into more like a COVID suspension. And in the last week I’ve heard rumblings — whispers, really, because cracking the Nets is kind of like breaking into the Kremlin, that Brooklyn GM Sean Marks would maybe, possibly, apparently be willing to at least listen to a trade offer for Kyrie this offseason.”"
Sullivan has since backtracked on his statement, posting a tweet last Friday that says the Nets are “not gonna deal” Kyrie.
Oh. Thanks for “clearing up” the thing you started.
Whether Sullivan was genuinely voicing the Nets’ concerns or shamelessly using the attention to promote his new book, he’s done enough. Pandora’s box is open. Let’s see what we have inside.
What Sullivan said about the Nets front office being frustrated with Irving is probably true. Irving took two extended leaves from the team during the regular season, the first of which caused him to miss seven straight games in January. After the NBA announced it was fining Irving for attending a private indoor party and that Irving had to quarantine for five days per league policy, the head honchos in the Brooklyn office couldn’t have been pleased.
Could the Nets’ Big Three suddenly become Two?
In his first press conference back, the ever-enigmatic Irving only said, he had “a lot of family and personal stuff going on, so I just want to leave it at that.” Irving then took another leave from the Nets due to a family matter in March, causing him to miss three straight games.
So Sullivan might be telling the truth with Irving’s “maskless party” and “pseudo-paternity leave” rubbing Sean Marks the wrong way, but to the extent that the Nets would trade him? It just feels like an impulsive and extremely disproportionate response. Like instead of just taking the candy away from the baby, you plan to get a whole new baby instead.
Irving’s recent trade rumor has lit up the torches of social media, and everyone wants to weigh in on the topic. Colin Cowherd seemed to agree with Sullivan’s first statement, and that if it were between Harden and Kyrie, he’d choose the Beard because “Kyrie is just taking shots.” A basketball account on Instagram posted a potential Kyrie-Lakers trade in which the Nets would get Andre Drummond, Dennis Schröder, and the 2027 first-round pick for their star. The top comment reads, “I didn’t know the nets were on adderall, cocaine, meth, and marijuana,” so that’s enough to say about that.
On his quiet and elusive end, Irving recently posted an Instagram photo with the caption, “Write it down, work in silence, then make it look effortless.”
Why must all players talk in secret passive-aggressive code about trade rumors? Or is he not responding to the rumors at all? What are you thinking, Kyrie? We just want to know.
If anything, given Irving’s contentious relationship with the media, he’s sending a message to eliminate the outside noise…which then would suggest he’s not listening to the rumors at all and is happy to be at Brooklyn. And why wouldn’t he be? Irving’s posting some of his best numbers in Brooklyn. In his two seasons, he’s averaged 27 points, 6.1 assists, and 4.9 rebounds per game (all career-highs) while shooting an inconceivable 50 percent from the field. Sean Marks can entertain the idea of trading Irving all he wants, but he knows he won’t get a better player, and he knows, after all that playoff mishap, that Brooklyn still needs the point guard to win a title.
From the moment they traded for him, the Nets knew who they were getting in Kyrie Irving, professional basketball player and alleged flat-earther. He’s one of the greatest ball-handlers to ever play the game, but he’s also a scorching lightning rod for controversy. Just this past season, there’s been the pawns thing, the “family” thing, the stomping thing…need we go on?
For now, continue disregarding Irving trade rumors as a pot-stirrer’s wet dream. Rumors will always be rumors, and Irving will always be Irving.