It is hard to think of too many teams in NBA history that have gone through the turmoil that the Brooklyn Nets did this season. Kyrie Irving was at the heart of most of the drama, with his refusal to get vaccinated causing him to miss a huge portion of the season as he couldn't play home games.
That uncertainty eventually led to James Harden wanting out and the Nets managed to get a decent haul in return with Ben Simmons being the centerpiece, only for the Australian to not play this season due to a back injury. Now, someone who was present behind the scenes while all this was taking place, has spoken up. Amar'e Stoudemire was an assistant coach with the Nets the last two seasons and he talked about how the Kyrie situation affected the team and the coaching staff:
“Yeah, I think it hurt us. It definitely hurt us because we didn’t have the consistency with Kyrie enough to build chemistry for the group with the team. He plays only on away games depending on which city it is, can’t play in New York, therefore you have different lineups and different matchups depending on the game schedule."
"So it made it difficult for us coaches to figure out who’s going to play in spite of Kyrie. The chemistry is not where we would like it to be, so it was difficult for us to manage that. So yeah, it was definitely part of that.”
It was undoubtedly a pretty rough situation to be a part of and Irving has taken a bulk of the criticism for their failures this season. There is no clarity as of yet on whether the Nets plan to resign him to a max deal and GM Sean Marks' comments did little to quell the speculation. The Kyrie saga now looks set to be one of the more prominent talking points this off-season and something that the NBA world will follow very closely.