The Nets Should Take a Page Out of the Boston Celtics Playbook When It Comes to Kyrie Irving
The Nets are an absolute mess — a talented team but a serious mess. The Boston Celtics dealt with that Kyrie mess for two seasons, and the Nets could learn a lot from how things transpired in Boston.
Kyrie Irving wants out of Brooklyn
We were overdue for more Irving drama. It’s been a while since he missed eight games after the Nets suspended him for posting a link to a documentary that contained antisemitic material. Irving returned to the Nets in late November, but, of course, two months without Kyrie problems is too long.
On Friday, Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news that Irving requested a trade from the Nets.
“Breaking: Brooklyn Nets All-Star Kyrie Irving has requested a trade, league sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium,” Charania tweeted. “The franchise has been informed that Irving prefers to move on ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline — or will leave in free agency in July.”
Not only does Irving ask out, but he also expresses when he’d like to be dealt.
Kyrie’s whining is nothing new. He’s a selfish player who goes against the grain when he doesn’t get his way. Skill-wise, he’s a top-five player in the league. He’s ultra-talented, but his distractions and me-before-we attitude far outweigh the good he does with the basketball.
The Nets will better themselves with addition by subtraction
At least Irving was kind enough to give the Nets six days of notice before making his request. The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 9, leaving the Nets with less than a week to find a trading partner. It’s not likely the Nets are going to get face value for a talent like Irving, and why should they?
What team in its right mind would offer face value for a chronic problem? Why would a team bring Irving on board? Yes, the talent is there, but the bad far outweighs the good. If a team really wants him, it can wait until the offseason, when he becomes a free agent, to sign him without compensation.
The Nets shouldn’t give in. They can learn a lot from the Celtics here.
Irving’s days in Boston were ugly. In his first season, he missed the postseason because of a knee injury. The Celtics thrived without him, making their way to the Eastern Conference Finals before falling in seven games to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Irving returned for the playoffs the following season and was both woeful and problematic.
After a Game 4 loss to the Bucks in Round 2 that put the Celtics in a 3-1 hole, reporters asked Irving about his shooting woes for the series. In Games 2-4, Kyrie shot 19-for-62 from the floor. He went 7-for-22 from the floor in Game 4.
“Who cares?” he said, per CBS Sports. Boston lost the series in five games, and Kyrie was gone the next season.
The Celtics let Irving walk. They got nothing for him. They returned to the conference finals the next year. Two years later, they were in the NBA Finals for the first time in 12 years.
The Nets can’t let Irving dictate the next move. If they happen to get a great return, send him packing. If they’re not satisfied with any trade proposal, let him sulk his way through the rest of the season in Brooklyn. Either way, Irving will be gone next year, and, just like the Celtics, the Nets will be better off.