The drama we saw at the dawn of free agency in Brooklyn seems to have died down and been pushed to the background for now. Just over a week ago, Kyrie Irving and BFF Kevin appeared durant should be shipped out of town as soon as possible. While Durant has several admirersIrving can’t say the same.
Leading in terms of landing Kyrie is the Los Angeles Lakers. Irving, who bought a mansion in LA last week, only added to the speculation. A trade with the Lakers would reunite Irving and LeBron James and most likely rid the Lakers of Russell Westbrook.
Reports surfaced this week that the Lakers were not “aggressive.” pursuit of Irving about trade. It doesn’t look like everyone in the Lakers organization is all about bringing Kyrie to SoCal. James is probably the biggest advocate and may be the only one wanting to act for Irving.
Before Kyrie settled into the final year of his deal with Brooklyn, that’s how it was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Irving had a list of preferred teams he would like to consider as commercial partners. That list included the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Mavericks, Heat and 76ers. It has since emerged that the Sixers and Mavs have no interest in acting for the All-Star guard.
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As for the other teams, I think Miami will be really interested after this deal closes. Pat Riley would be willing to fight Kyrie for his approach to turning pro. I just don’t get how this works, not even for a month. The Knicks are the Knicks and recently paid off Jalen Brunson, so they’re out.
The Lakers’ situation is outlined above, and the Clippers picked off John Wall in a free hand. That’s not to say they can’t trade for Irving, but they don’t have a lot of draft picks. Should it come to Irving to the Clippers, it still wouldn’t solve their main problem, which is leadership on the pitch. Kyrie wants to lead, but others besides his pal Durant aren’t so keen on following him.
Irving quickly found that he wasn’t as hot for merchandise as he thought he was. Teams don’t exactly fall over themselves, jump in line, make offers. All his quirks and unpredictability have returned to kick his ass. Maybe that’s good for Kyrie. He’s a great player that no team wants to invest in for the long term. And certainly not the team he currently plays for alongside KD.
The fact is, Irving dug the hole he’s standing in. He’s spent the last two years digging it, and now he’s (hopefully) finally realizing just how deep it goes. He disappeared after the Jan. 6, 2021 incident in the nation’s capital and chose not to get vaccinated after apparently leading the team to believe he would, his crazy quotes, like firing the Sixers, who needed a coach when Steve Nash was hired.
There’s always something about Irving that takes the focus off what he’s doing on the pitch. An NBA team would have to be stupid to go all-in with Kyrie after he showed his personality to the world.
We could see Irving waiting quite a while before he acted. Neither the team nor the rest of the NBA seems to be in any hurry. And with all that’s haunting Irving, he doesn’t have the confidence to see what’s going on and change. And even if Kyrie sees what’s happening (which he should), he’ll likely carry on as usual.
I don’t see Kyrie committing to that level of self-reflection under the circumstances. It sucks to say, but he probably didn’t learn much from it.