The butterfly effect applies to all facets of life, including sports. Upon returning from parties and Zoom meetings, Irving suited up next to Harden and legendary forward Kevin Durant on the Nets.
A month in, Irving — who has a reputation for selfish decisions — just shocked the world with his comments about his relationship with Harden.
Kyrie Irving and James Harden are now teammates
For the second time in less than a decade, the Brooklyn Nets chose to go all-in.
It’s hard to forget the 2013 trade with Boston, which netted the Nets both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Former Nets general manager Billy King’s decision to trade three unprotected first-round picks and swap 2017 first-round choices looked bad at the time and even worse in hindsight.
Then came the Harden trade in January, when Brooklyn sent three unprotected first-round picks to the Rockets. Harden debuted with the Nets on January 16 and Kyrie Irving, who had been AWOL, rejoined the team a few days later.
The Nets have had mixed success since acquiring Harden
The Brooklyn Nets are slowly finding their way with the Big 3 of James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving.
The Nets are 9-6 since Harden debuted against the Orlando Magic on January 16. Harden has only missed one game, a 149-146 loss to Russell Westbrook and the Wizards on January 31.
Harden has averaged 23 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 11.6 assists in his first 14 games with the Nets. The eight-time All-Star already has four triple-doubles to his name in a Nets uniform.
Irving has averaged 27.9 points on 53.8% shooting from the field with 4.3 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 12 games since he returned on January 20.
Lost in the Irving drama and Harden trade is Kevin Durant, who missed all of last season following an Achilles injury in the 2019 NBA Finals. Through his first 19 games, Durant averaged 29 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and hit 52.4% of his shots.
Kyrie Irving gave James Harden a massive endorsement
Kyrie Irving has a reputation for immaturity, which helped him burn bridges in Cleveland and Boston.
Perhaps Irving’s time away from the Nets provided him with clarity about growing up and doing whatever it takes to win a championship. That includes Irving, the Nets’ point guard, deferring to James Harden and letting him be the Nets’ floor general.
According to ESPN, Irving is willing to change his role if it means the Nets will win more games.
“I just looked at him, and I said, ‘You’re the point guard, and I’m going to play shooting guard.’ That was as simple as that.”
If Irving sticks to that philosophy, he just gave the Nets great news about their future. Keeping Harden happy is crucial to the Nets’ chances of winning an NBA title and potentially keeping the 31-year-old in Brooklyn for a long time.
Now begins the waiting game to see if Irving still feels that way in a month, when the Nets are either clearly playoff-bound or amid a crisis.