When Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant joined the Brooklyn Nets, both men seemed committed to playing and, perhaps more importantly, chasing championships together. Now the whole house of cards seems to be collapsing. Irving has a player option on the table, but negotiations over a longer-term deal appear to have collapsed. According to the latest reports, the guard has been cleared to request a sign-and-trade deal.
It doesn’t seem like many teams are interested, which makes perfect sense. Given his track record and recent lack of accountability, Irving may have ultimately made himself too hot to handle.
Kyrie Irving passed the buck when asked about his future with the Brooklyn Nets
For professional athletes, giving noncommittal answers is just part of the job. Kyrie Irving, however, apparently missed that part of the PR training.
During a recent appearance at the BET Awards, Complex News’ Pierce Simpson asked the guard a simple question: “Do you still want to be a Brooklyn Net?” Kyrie could have easily sidestepped the question or given a friendly response to PR, but he arguably took the worst option.
“Pass it, pass it to my left,” Irving said, while pointing to his mother-in-law and agent, Shetellia Riley Irving.
While this may seem like a relatively minor transgression, it fits into an earlier pattern of Irving’s behavior. The guard is used to making decisions – whether it’s promising his future to a team and then leaving town or making a questionable comment and then challenging the reaction – then not taking responsibility of his own choice. Once again, Irving took a relatively innocuous moment and, rather than approaching it professionally, turned it into a problem.
Hitting in free will is part of professional sport. Most fans, no matter how emotionally invested they are, can relate to this. This understanding, however, requires some sense of understanding or, at least, knowledge of public relations on the athlete’s side.
Irving, however, has always lacked that perspective.
It seems Irving’s behavior ultimately limited his own future prospects.
From afar, it might seem that talking about Kyrie Irving’s behavior is limited to sports radio and argument-based TV shows and doesn’t translate into real-life NBA spaces. If recent reports are to be believed, however, it looks like the guard has finally limited his own perks.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, there are no teams other than the Los Angeles Lakers who are interested in working on a sign and trade for Irving. The Nets, however, apparently aren’t interested in the offer.
While there may be several factors at play, it seems Irving has ultimately narrowed its own market. If the goalkeeper has a habit of making irresponsible decisions and not taking responsibility for them, then it is reasonable for the clubs to be afraid. At the most basic level, do teams want to tie their brand’s wagon to the railing? If his red carpet comments have anything to do with it, he’s not suddenly going to start taking responsibility and acting mature in the public eye. Who do you trust to speak on behalf of your billion dollar business?
On a more basketball-related level, is it worth adding a player who’s proven to come to town, make questionable choices, and leave town after a few seasons? Even if a team (say the Lakers) wants to believe they can make the goaltender stick around for more than a cup of coffee, how can you 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 about before), it all comes down to responsibility. Irving has the right to do whatever he wants, but he must also face the consequences of his own actions. In this case, that means dealing with the potential absence of a longer-term contract.
It may seem harsh and, if we think back to when Irving broke into the NBA, unthinkable, but that’s where we are right now. Kyrie did this to herself.
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