Back in 2019, the Brooklyn Nets shocked the basketball world by signing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. After years of residing in a rough situation, the Nets were made Championship contenders practically overnight.
At first glance, things seem to be going well enough -- apparently, Kyrie would even retire if he's ever traded by Brooklyn.
There are a handful of Kyrie trades that potentially make sense for the Nets, Kyrie’s agents have made it known that Kyrie would simply *retire from the NBA* if Brooklyn were to trade him.
Obviously, the Nets are entering the 2021-22 season as the favorites to win it all. Despite everything, though, Stephen A. Smith dared to argue that the signing of Irving was motivated not by the Nets' infatuation with him, but instead by his friendship with Kevin Durant.
“The Brooklyn Nets were never enamored with taking [Irving] on to begin with. They did it because they knew that’s what Kevin Durant wanted. And Kevin Durant is so tight with Kyrie that when Kyrie said, ‘Yo man, Brooklyn’s the spot, not the New York Knicks,’ KD was like, ‘Cool.’”
The matter of Irving's arrival in Brooklyn certainly does raise a few questions. For Smith, though, Irving's future with the franchise isn't as absolute as one might think.
"Here’s the problem: Mentally, [Irving is] not all about basketball. The problem is it creates a disinterest in him playing basketball, particularly during the regular season. … And so because of that, in an ideal world, does any organization want to deal with that? No. But most would try because Kyrie is just that special. In the case of the Brooklyn Nets, [James] Harden and KD would be enough [to win a championship] but KD wouldn’t be happy if Kyrie walked away and it damn sure can’t be because the Brooklyn Nets pushed him away. … So, it really is in Kyrie’s hands.”
Needless to say, things in Brooklyn could change if the Nets don't meet expectations this season.
As for Kyrie Irving, it will be up to him to stay focused on basketball, help lead the Nets to success in the East, and prove to Stephen A. Smith that he's more to the Nets than a friend to KD.