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Stephen A. Smith Has A Major Challenge For Kyrie Irving Ahead Of 2022-23 NBA Season: "If Kyrie Wants To Be One Of Those Dudes That's Getting 200-Plus Million Like A Bradley Beal, Like A Zach LaVine, He's Got To Show Up This Year."

Kyrie Irving

When he's healthy or away from drama, there aren't many players better than Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving. He has a perfect skill set, and any team would be lucky to have him on their roster.

But the fact remains that over the last few seasons, fans haven't really seen Kyrie at his best. For numerous reasons, such as suffering from injuries or his stance on not getting vaccinated, Irving has been sidelined for most of his time with the Brooklyn Nets.

 As a result, many believed that Irving would probably leave the Nets after the 2021-22 NBA season. Another reason is that the Nets were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

And to make things worse, Kevin Durant also requested a trade out of the Nets. Despite all these negative signs, Kyrie is still a part of the Nets. Moreover, with the Nets declining the Los Angeles Lakers recent trade offer around Russell Westbrook, it seems more likely than ever that Irving will stay with the Nets. 

Speaking on the matter, NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith issued a challenge for Irving. Smith pointed out that if Kyrie wants a massive $200 million-plus contract like other top guards, then he needs to show up this season.

(Starts at 0:50): 

"If Kyrie wants to be one of those dudes that's getting 200-plus million like a Bradley Beal, like a Zach LaVine, he's got to show up this year. Kevin Durant's got four years guaranteed without an out."

Smith also pointed out, "If I'm Joe Tsai, he ain't going any damn place. (Kevin Durant)'s staying right here. You can leave the Nets the last three (seasons). I'll send you wherever you want to go, but you're going to give me this year, because with those three, Brooklyn is a legitimate top four title contender as far as I'm concerned.

But when I see them play together, then I'll believe it. Until then, I'm certainly not giving them the benefit of the doubt. They haven't earned it."

Apart from issuing a challenge for Kyrie, the veteran NBA analyst also believes that the Nets cannot be considered a legitimate contender for the title in the Eastern Conference until he sees the new Big 3 of the Nets play together.

Well, this seems only fair since the Nets were the only team that was swept in the playoffs last season despite being one of the favorites to win it all. But can they really do it next season? Only time will tell us that.