Posts Tagged ‘Kyrie Irving’

Kyrie Irving believes the Brooklyn Nets will be better in the long run after the Boston Celtics swept them in the opening round of last season’s playoffs.

“It was meant to happen like that. Motivation bro,” Irving told Twitch streamer KaiCenat on Sunday. “We needed that humbling experience, especially going against the Celtics. It was already built to be that matchup. We’re gonna see them again, we’re gonna have to.

“They’re gonna be where they’re gonna be. But those youngins over there in Boston, bro, I got to see them grow up. So to see them do what they did last year on the Finals stage, making it that far, I’m glad they had to go through us.”

Brooklyn had to earn its postseason berth through the play-in tournament after finishing seventh in the Eastern Conference. The Nets played a competitive series against the Celtics, dropping all four contests by single digits, including a buzzer-beater in Game 1.

Irving averaged 21.3 points, 5.3 boards, 5.3 assists, and 1.8 steals against the eventual East champions. Co-star Kevin Durant registered 26.3 points per contest but was held to just 38.6% shooting from the field.

Brooklyn has won just one playoff series since the duo joined forces in 2019.

Both Irving and Durant are back in the fold after each pondered a future elsewhere this summer. Three-time All-Star guard Ben Simmons, who the Nets acquired in the James Harden blockbuster, is also expected to be ready for training camp after undergoing back surgery in May.

The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers have begun discussing a potential trade involving star guards Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook, sources told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.

The two teams are hopeful they can complete a deal at some point during the offseason, Haynes adds.

Irving recently picked up his $36.5-million player option to remain in Brooklyn, despite reports that he debated bypassing the deal to become a free agent. The Lakers were one of the teams that reportedly had an interest in the seven-time All-Star.

When on the floor, Irving has proven to be one of the most dynamic players in the league. However, the 30-year-old has suited up in just 103 games over the last three seasons.

In addition to Irving, the Nets are reportedly looking to add wing Joe Harris and his two-year, $38.6-million contract into a trade.

Meanwhile, Westbrook also opted into a player option this offseason, selecting to remain with the Lakers next year on a $47-million contract. The former MVP had an up-and-down first campaign in Los Angeles, putting his fit alongside fellow stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis in question.

Kyrie Irving will stay put after all.

The Brooklyn Nets star will remain with the franchise after choosing to opt into his $37-million player option for the 2022-23 season, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

“Normal people keep the world going, but those who dare to be different lead us into tomorrow,” Irving said in a statement, per Charania. “I’ve made my decision to opt in. See you in the fall. A11even.”

Irving had until Wednesday to make a decision on his player option.

The 30-year-old later tweeted a follow-up to his decision.

The Nets had reportedly permitted Irving to speak with other teams to find sign-and-trade agreements in order to assist in his potential exit. However, the Los Angeles Lakers were believed to be the only team interested.

Irving, however, is said to be bypassing multiple potential opt-in-and-trade possibilities with his commitment to Brooklyn for next season, according to Charania.

The mercurial guard’s future was thrown into disarray earlier this month when he was said to be undecided on whether to pick up the lucrative option. Talks between him and the front office then reportedly stagnated. With Irving seemingly having one foot out the door, doubts were then cast on his co-star Kevin Durant, who reportedly began to weigh his own future with the Nets.

By opting in, Brooklyn could possibly trade Irving and his expiring deal without his approval this offseason. However, the team can now also negotiate a long-term extension with him by June 2023, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Irving matched his career high with 27.4 points per game last season but was limited to just 29 contests. As a result of refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Irving was unable to play at home at Barclays Center, and Nets general manager Sean Marks didn’t allow him to be a part-time player, ruling him out for road games, too.

Marks and the franchise, however, relented from that stance in December. They permitted the seven-time All-Star to play on the road, where he made his season debut on Jan. 5. After New York City dropped its remaining vaccine mandates, Irving then made his home season debut on March 27.

Irving has averaged 27.1 points, six assists, 3.9 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and shot 40.6% from three in 103 games over three seasons in Brooklyn.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green thinks the Los Angeles Lakers would need more than Kyrie Irving to beat the reigning champions.

“They could contend, but they won’t beat us,” Green told Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw.

The Lakers are reportedly the “most significant threat” to land Irving if he decides to depart the Brooklyn Nets. The 30-year-old has a $36.5-million player option for the 2022-2023 season.

However, L.A. currently lacks the financial flexibility to give Irving anything close to the value of his player option, as the franchise can only offer the $6-million taxpayer exception.

Irving and Lakers superstar LeBron James played three seasons together with the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014-2017. The tandem led the Cavs to their lone championship in 2016, defeating Green and the Warriors in a famous comeback from a 3-1 series deficit.

The Warriors have bested the James-Irving pairing in the past, winning championships in 2015 and 2017.

Irving requested a trade in the summer of 2017 and was shipped off to the Boston Celtics. He said in May that the Cavaliers would have won more championships if he stayed with James in Cleveland. James and the Kyrie-less Cavs were swept by the Warriors in 2018.

“With LeBron, if you give him someone like Kyrie … they’ll have a chance because of the way Kyrie can score the basketball,” Green added. “LeBron will only put him in position to do that. Kyrie has not proven to be a great leader. LeBron will put an umbrella over that.”

The Lakers missed the playoffs for the second time during LeBron’s tenure this past season, finishing 33-49.

The Los Angeles Lakers are the “most significant threat” to land Kyrie Irving if he elects to leave the Brooklyn Nets this summer, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

Irving holds a $36.5-million player option for the 2022-23 campaign but can decline it to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The seven-time All-Star is reportedly undecided on his future with the Nets ahead of the June 29 player option deadline.

However, the Lakers lack the cap flexibility to offer Irving anything close to his player option salary for next season. The $6-million taxpayer exemption is likely the best deal Los Angeles can bring to the table, according to Wojnarowski.

A move to the Lakers would reunite Irving with LeBron James. The duo led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their lone title in 2016.

The Los Angeles Clippers and the New York Knicks have also been linked to Irving should the former No. 1 overall pick hit the open market.

Irving averaged 27.4 points, 5.8 assists, 4.4 boards, and 1.4 steals over 29 appearances last season.

Kyrie Irving says he doesn’t intend on leaving the Brooklyn Nets this summer in part because he wants to continue playing with Kevin Durant.

“It has always been about being comfortable loving where I’m at, and I love it here,” Irving told reporters Saturday, including the New York Post’s Brian Lewis. “Once that summertime hits, I know that we’ll have some conversations, but there’s no way I can leave my man seven (Durant) anywhere.”

Durant and Irving joined the Nets as free agents in July 2019. Durant agreed to a four-year, $198-million contract extension with Brooklyn last offseason. However, Irving opted against signing a new four-year, $187-million max deal the previous summer.

The pair have played in only 35 games together. Durant sat out his first season in Brooklyn while rehabbing his torn Achilles and missed other significant stretches due to injuries. New York City’s private vaccination mandate has limited Irving to 20 appearances this campaign, but the rule no longer extends to unvaccinated athletes as of March 23.

Irving has been brilliant in the 20 games he’s played, averaging 28.5 points, 5.5 assists, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.4 steals. The seven-time All-Star is also producing an impressive 49/44/91 shooting line and the second-highest effective field-goal percentage of his career at 57.4%.

Brooklyn (38-35) is eighth in the Eastern Conference with nine regular-season games remaining.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday changes to the city’s private-sector vaccine mandate, creating an exemption to allow unvaccinated professional athletes to participate in home games in the city.

“Day 1, when I was mayor, I looked at the rule that stated hometown players had an unfair disadvantage (against) those who were coming to visit, and immediately, I felt we needed to look at that,” Adams said during a press conference at Citi Field. “But my medical professionals said, ‘Eric, we’re at a different place. We have to wait until we’re at a place when we’re at a low area, and we can re-examine some of the mandates.'”

With the exemption taking effect immediately, Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, the NBA’s most prominent unvaccinated player, will be permitted to join his team on the floor at Barclays Center as early as March 27 for a tilt against the Charlotte Hornets.

Additionally, unvaccinated athletes from MLB’s New York Yankees and New York Mets will be able to take the field for the teams’ respective home openers; the Yankees host the Boston Red Sox on April 7, while the Mets face the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 15.

Yankees star outfielder Aaron Judge, who evaded questions about his own vaccination status earlier in March, commented on the change.

“I’m happy Kyrie can play some home games,” he said Wednesday, according to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch.

The exemption will align rules governing home and visiting athletes. To date, unvaccinated athletes from teams based outside of New York City have been eligible to play road games in the city.

Adams had repeatedly resisted modifying the private-sector mandate. He said Thursday’s decision to exempt local performers wasn’t spurred by outside influences.

“Tough choices take a tough person to make them … We’re not doing it because there are pressures to do it,” Adams said, courtesy of Ross Barkan of The Nation.

Adams also suggested that the exemption for local athletes could potentially be removed in the event of further COVID-19 outbreaks in New York, according to ESPN’s Joon Lee.

The Nets have six more regular-season home games, plus a game against the crosstown New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on April 6. Irving will be eligible for each remaining game.

The last hiccup regarding Irving’s eligibility could come immediately following the regular season. With Brooklyn currently entrenched as the Eastern Conference’s eighth-place team, the Nets are in line to face the seventh-seeded Toronto Raptors on the road in a play-in game; Canadian health rules currently prohibit unvaccinated athletes from entering the country.

As the Brooklyn Nets set their sights on a highly anticipated showdown against James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday, Kyrie Irving says he’s at peace with his former teammate’s decision to seek a trade.

“If that’s what James wanted, then I respect his decision, and that’s just what it is. I wish him nothing but peace and love. We have a great friendship, but it didn’t work out,” Irving said following his 50-point performance in Tuesday’s win over the Charlotte Hornets, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell.

Before the Nets traded him to Philadelphia, Harden reportedly expressed his dissatisfaction with Irving only being eligible for road games this season because he’s unvaccinated. Irving says he wishes Harden had offered a more specific explanation as to why he wanted to leave Brooklyn.

“I wish things could have been communicated better for all of us as men, but hey, no hard feelings here with me or anyone else,” Irving added.

The Nets are 4-7 in 11 games since the Harden trade entering Thursday’s matchup in Philadelphia. They currently occupy the East’s No. 8 seed. Meanwhile, the second-seeded 76ers have enjoyed immediate success with their new-look roster, going 5-0 in the games Harden has played so far and 8-2 overall since his arrival.

Ben Simmons, who was the key piece acquired by Brooklyn in exchange for Harden, reportedly won’t suit up in Thursday’s game as he continues his reconditioning process with the Nets.

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving may have left the Boston Celtics in 2019, but fans of his former franchise have yet to fully get over the star’s tenure with the team.

After the Nets’ tight 126-120 loss at TD Garden on Sunday afternoon, Irving acknowledged the cold reception he received from Boston fans throughout the contest.

“I know it’s going to be like that for the rest of my career, coming in here,” Irving said, according to SNY. “It’s like the scorned girlfriend – wants an explanation on why I left but still hoping for a text back. I’m just like, ‘It’s fun while it lasted.'”

Despite the Celtics faithful’s negative reaction, the 29-year-old had only positive things to say about his former organization.

“I’m just grateful for my time here in Boston. Everybody in the front office, everybody in the locker room treated me well. I still have lasting relationships in our league,” Irving added.

Sunday’s contest was the first time Irving took the floor in Boston since Brooklyn’s playoff victory last season when he averaged 25 points over the five-game series.

However, it was the raucous Celtics fans that got the last laugh this time around, with Irving held to just 19 points. The victory pushed Boston closer to a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference.

Back in October, Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving claimed the reason why he isn’t following the required protocols of the NBA and the state of New York is because he wants to be a “voice for the voiceless.”

Irving supposedly refused the jab because he was upset that people have been losing their jobs due to various mandates. So rather than get it, he’s been sitting out and hasn’t been able to play or practice with his team this entire season.

During a rambling Instagram Live video, Irving claimed, “I’m rocking with all those who have lost their jobs to this mandate and I’m rocking with all those who chose to be vaccinated and are choosing to be safe as well. I’m on both sides of all this.”

Not many NBA fans, at least those who could actually understand what Irving was trying to say, believed him at the time.

Fast forward two months later and Kyrie Irving still hasn’t played a minute for the Brooklyn Nets this season, and a new report by Bally Sports is going to make even less NBA fans buy into what Uncle Drew is selling.

According to Bally, Irving lied about the real reason why he has yet to become vaccinated so he can participate in the 2021-22 NBA season.

Among Irving’s circle, the general consensus is that he is not anti-vaccination and believes everyone has the right to make their own decision. His apprehension about the COVID vaccine stems from his concerns about the possibility of long-term side effects, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are “extremely unlikely.”

Those closest to him also have shared that Irving knows anything he says will be magnified and scrutinized and he doesn’t want to be viewed as an anti-vaxxer. He’s not taking this stance to be a voice for the voiceless. He’s just not trusting of the available vaccines, according to sources.

Irving also does not want to get vaccinated because of bad experiences with his health due to basketball injuries over the years.

Kyrie, who turns 30 in March and is still getting paid for all of the Nets’ road games, reportedly hasn’t just been sitting around during his extended time off. He reportedly has been regularly working out, focusing on cardio, weight training and meditation.

“This is the happiest that I’ve seen Kyrie in years,” a source told Bally Sports.

The same can probably not be said for those in the Brooklyn Nets’ front office.