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Kyrie Irving is daring the Nets to let him test free agency. The gamble could cost him Kevin Durant

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Kyrie Irving moves, we react.

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Thankfully, we’re not the Brooklyn Nets, a franchise that couldn’t predict every circumstance of the last two years, but should have known something was going to happen.

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Somehow, they believed that with Kevin Durant and his hometown New York backdrop, Irving could be happy – or at least suffocate him with enough care to prevent this very situation.

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They defended him, they justified him, and when it came to finally holding him accountable, he wanted to take his ball and go home or anywhere but Barclays Center.

Irving has always been right about one thing, whether it’s silly or showy, he’s mesmerizing. He gets as much attention when he’s having fun as he does when he’s doing stunts backstage.

The latter, an issue his third eye apparently couldn’t foresee, revolves around the Nets not wanting to give him a fully guaranteed max contract that would see him live to 30. He threatens to use part-time services elsewhere but demands full-time pay.

Let’s see, talented, but traumatic point-ish the security guard who refuses to show up for practice or games at any moment, leaving his coaches and teammates to fend for themselves, upset that his current employer considers him unreliable?

Perhaps he was lulled into a false sense of security by all the public displays of support from Sean Marks, Steve Nash and Durant. But they were soon to learn what the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers had learned the hard way: you couldn’t make him happy.

It’s impossible.

A disappointed Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets during the first quarter of Game 2 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs against the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden on April 20, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Kyrie Irving will never be happy whether he gets his desired contract extension with the Brooklyn Nets or not. (Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

Irving wasn’t in an ideal situation in Cleveland when he first got there and even after LeBron James returned to Northeast Ohio. Irving wanted his voice to be the loudest, the most meaningful – both in the locker room and to the general public.

But this did not happen, and this naturally upset him.

Going to Boston and having to lead a group of youngsters wasn’t an ideal situation either, and although he initially promised fans that he would sign a new contract, he and Durant came up with the idea of ​​playing together – not exactly original, considering the latter. a decade or so.

He was not prepared for leadership, his intentions were not supported by effective methods, but in his right mind he probably felt that the lessons learned along the way would help him in Brooklyn.

But the world had gone awry, and the NBA needed rules and structure to keep that money train going.

Irving and the structure are incompatible, as it seems that he only operates in conditions of anarchy. He missed more games than he played for Brooklyn, and the only one-series playoff runner won for his troubles.

Irving is guided by his own principles, whatever they may be at the moment. Sometimes it can seem sincere, like reuniting with a long-lost relative you loved so much. On his next breath, he says and does something that makes you remember why there was such a long distance in the first place.

Neither situation is inexcusable in itself, even though his refusal to vaccinate caused a domino effect that ended with a four-game win at the hands of the once-young Celtics.

Each microstep creates a macro ladder, and in the end it is no longer a ladder to NBA heaven.

Why is he always? And is there always something that prevents him from just going out and exercising his God-given, personally honed ability to play the game?

He is easier to defend on the floor than off the floor and is at best undefended between those four lines. But therein lies the angle the Nets voluntarily huddled into.

Irving’s talent has always meant more to them than even other franchises, considering they needed to gain a foothold in the New York area and the league as a whole. Durant and Irving colorized the black-and-white franchise a bit, and the Nets had to give them some leeway.

Irving paints the lines and tests the infrastructure under construction. His influence was always next to Durant, not his own value, the value his talent demanded, but his resume never seemed to show up.

He wanted to get all the trophies from being the guy with the franchise, but he never invested the necessary capital, more talking than showing. Perhaps his vulnerability has earned him some grace in moments, but that doesn’t mean the person is worthy of leadership.

Anarchy is illogical, as are wage demands.

If Irving was the player who made all the waves, if he was the one whose mere presence inspired teammates to play with and for him, he would not only have the Brooklyn Nets as real fans, but any team without an NBA point guard. .

He is not a loser, but there is a question of how much he influences the victory. He might be the perfect addition in an ideal situation, but those circumstances don’t seem to be aside from seismic changes in the landscape.

And there’s no room on the NBA’s tectonic plate for another.

He can’t be trusted on many levels, and deep down he knows it.

He gets the Nets to let him test the free agency market, and the Nets know he doesn’t want to leave Durant.

If he left, there would be no franchise to absorb both Irving and Durant, so he would leave his friend with very little chance of a reunion. He wants to stay, but stay on his own terms with the money and the supposed influence that comes with it.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets watch the final seconds of their 109-103 loss to the Boston Celtics during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round playoffs at the Barclays Center on April 23, 2022 in New York City.
Are Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving really ready to leave the Brooklyn Nets and each other? (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Irving probably has more say in the conversation in the NBA than in practice in the building where he appears from time to time. A stimulus-laden contract goes against his sensibility because, in the greatest display of self-awareness he can display, he knows he won’t be around all the time.

It will be something – a birthday, an anniversary, a full moon, an eclipse – that will prevent him from starting work that day or this week.

Accepting a conditional deal will no more set an unattractive precedent for the future, any more than this whole fiasco will reverberate for NBA players as a whole, as CBA talks are pending.

Irving is one of them in every way.

Irving’s words “good intentions” were always a fallback because he was a young man trying to find his way in an environment that only has room for mercy, but so much.

However, at some point it can’t be everyone else’s fault, it can’t just be intent or special circumstances.

At some point, professionals have to be professionals.


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