Following a whirlwind week in which GM Sean Marks made the call that Irving won’t be allowed to join the team until he can be a full-time employee, the Nets are now in daily headlines for reasons other than basketball.
While it’s hard to blame the media for asking about the most controversial storyline in the NBA right now, it’s understandable that the team just wants to focus on the guys who are available.
Asked about the situation on Wednesday, James Harden said as much, repeatedly trying to take the focus back to team matters.
“Every single day is already a struggle because we’re trying to put it together,” said Harden. “So I think the main thing we can focus on is getting better every single day as a unit.”
While the Nets should be one of the favorites to win an NBA title even without Kyrie, it’s hard to see the drama not becoming a factor in the locker room until it’s resolved.
Head Coach Steve Nash’s curt response to the media on Thursday showed he was tired of talking about Irving.
Harden himself had a similar response when the media brought it up.
I don’t agree with the above linked tweet’s caption that Harden was directing his disapproval toward Kyrie. My feeling is he was more annoyed with being asked about the situation despite already saying he doesn’t want to talk about it.
Still, it’s not like this is something that reporters will forget about tomorrow. They’re going to continue asking about Irving until he either re-joins the team or a definitive answer is provided about his future.
Do these Nets responses hint at a future problem with team chemistry?
Since Kyrie Irving won’t be with the team in any capacity as they begin their season, I can’t see his absence being a factor when it comes to off-court relationships. As Sean Marks said perfectly last week, “The championship goals for the season have not changed, and each member of the organization must pull in the same direction.”
Outside of Irving, nothing leads me to believe that anyone else on the roster isn’t ready to go full steam ahead in pursuit of an NBA championship. After 12 years of a title eluding him, Harden appears ready to lock in and focus on the bigger picture at hand.
If James Harden moves over to point guard, Brooklyn Nets rookie Cam Thomas should be in line for either a starting spot without Kyrie Irving.
While they’ll probably have to keep dealing with annoying questions, the Nets have more important things to worry about.