Kyrie Irving’s Latest Lack of Accountability May Have Ruined His Hopes of a Sign-and-Trade

When Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant joined the Brooklyn Nets, both men seemed committed to the idea of playing and, perhaps more importantly, chasing championships together. Now, the entire house of cards appears to be crumbling. Irving does have a player option on the table, but negotiations over a longer-term deal seem to have collapsed. According to the latest reports, the guard has received permission to seek a sign-and-trade agreement.

It doesn’t seem like many teams are interested, though, which makes complete sense. Given his track record and recent lack of accountability, Irving may have finally rendered himself too hot to handle.

Kyrie Irving passed the buck when asked about his future with the Brooklyn Nets

For professional athletes, giving non-committal answers is simply part of the job. Kyrie Irving, however, apparently missed that part of public relations training.

During a recent appearance at the BET Awards, Complex News’ Pierce Simpson asked the guard a simple question: “Do you want to be a Brooklyn Net still?” Kyrie could have easily skirted the question or given a public-relations friendly answer, but he took arguably the worst option.

“Pass it, pass it to my left,” Irving said,while pointing at his stepmother and agent, Shetellia Riley Irving.

While that might seem like a relatively minor transgression, it does fit within a pattern of Irving’s previous behavior. The guard has had a history of making decisions — whether that means pledging his future to a team, then leaving town or making a questionable comment, then taking issue with the reaction — and then failing to take accountability for his own choice. Once again, Irving took a relatively innocuous moment and, rather than addressing it like a professional, made it into a problem.

Hitting free agency is part of professional sports. Most fans, no matter how emotionally invested they may be, can understand that. That understanding, however, requires some sense of understanding or, at least, knowledge of public relations on the athlete’s side of things.

Irving, however, has historically lacked that perspective.

It seems like Irving’s behavior has finally limited his own future prospects

From afar, it may seem like talk of Kyrie Irving’s behavior is limited to sports talk radio and argument-based TV shows and doesn’t translate into actual NBA spaces. If the recent reports are to be believed, though, it appears the guard has finally limited his own upside.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, there are no teams other than the Los Angeles Lakers that are interested in working out a sign-and-trade for Irving. The Nets, however, are apparently uninterested in that offer.

While there could be multiple factors at play, it does seem like Irving has finally limited his own market. If the guard has a history of making irresponsible decisions and failing to take accountability for them, then it’s reasonable for clubs to be scared away. At the most basic level, do teams want to hitch their brand’s wagon to the guard? If his red carpet comments are anything to go by, he’s not going to suddenly start taking accountability and acting maturely in the public eye. Is that who you trust speaking for your billion-dollar business?

On more of a basketball-related level, is it worth adding a player who has proven that he’ll come to town, make some iffy choices, and leave town after a few seasons? Even if a team (let’s say the Lakers) wants to believe they can entice the guard to stay for more than a cup of coffee, what’s to say that Irving will have enough availability to play 60 games in a single campaign? He hasn’t done that in the last three seasons.

As I mentioned earlier (and have written before), it all comes down to accountability. Irving is entitled to do as he pleases, but he also has to face the consequences of his own actions. In this case, that means facing the potential lack of a longer-term contract.

That might seem harsh and, if we think back to the days when Irving broke into the NBA, unthinkable, but that’s where we’re at right now. Kyrie has done this to himself.

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