Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets are reloading for another title run this year. They fell short in the playoffs mostly due to poor injury luck; Irving missed most of the team's postseason with an ankle injury and James Harden was severely limited by a hamstring issue. Even with all that, they were a half-inch away from Kevin Durant nailing a three-pointer that would have sent Brooklyn to the Eastern Conference Finals and a likely Finals berth.
Brooklyn stayed busy this offseason, bringing aboard a few veterans and signing Durant to a two-year extension. They have one of the greatest trios in NBA history under contract for the next two years at least. It is a good time to be a Nets fan.
It is now September, the slowest month of the NBA offseason. Nick Wright doesn't care about that and reported today that Irving would literally retire rather than play for another NBA team should the Nets decide to trade him.
As Wright notes, there are indeed a handful of trades involving Irving that make sense, but none of them have ever even made it to rumor status .The Nets have all the offensive talent in the world but virtually no defensive talent and Irving is the most moveable big contract they have. In theory, he could be traded. My favorite theoretical trade is Irving to Philly for Ben Simmons, but from what's out there that was never in consideration for either side.
The only rumbling we ever got that Irving could maybe be traded came from Matt Sullivan, author of Can't Knock The Hustle, who embedded with Brooklyn for nearly two years to write his book. Sullivan said on a podcast in June that Nets ownership was unhappy with Irving's sabbatical he took in the middle of the 2020-21 season and he could be acquired for the right price. But that was three months ago and nothing ever came of it.
Now we have Wright tweeting this out, seemingly apropos of nothing, on the same day Irving tweeted the below message. It's either a metaphor about being your true self or an anti-mask message, and it's a legitimate toss-up as to which.
Is it something? Is it nothing? Who knows!
The Wright report is unsurprising, though. Irving is playing for his hometown team alongside one of his best friends and a perennial MVP candidate in Harden. It cannot get better for the superstar point guard.
I guess we know what will happen if the Nets really do try and trade Irving. But now that his preference to retire instead of leave is out in the open, it's even less likely to happen than before.