The Nets signed Kyrie Irving mainly because he was part of a package deal to get Kevin Durant to play for them as a free agent. That’s his sole value to the team.
Other than that, I can’t come up with a reason where he has been valuable to the Nets this season.

Kevin Durant decided he won’t play a game for the Nets this regular season and this postseason since he thought it was in the organization’s best interest he waits until next season. Apparently, Irving feels the same way since reports surfaced he may not play at all when the season resumes as he nurses his shoulder injury.

It’s understandable why the Nets and Durant feel if both wait until next season since their star is so indispensable. With an Achilles injury, it’s risky to play a guy now when the season would resume in December or January. He hasn’t played all season to just rush him back now.

Irving played this season at least. He dealt with enough time where his shoulder should be okay enough for him to play. It’s about time he sucked it up and played through it, not wait until Durant comes back so he can look good. He owes it to his teammates to come play this year since he played with them all year. He shouldn’t have the wait until next year mentality.

Irving signed a four-year, $141 million deal with the Nets last summer.

Talk about being overpaid – the least he can do is show up and earn his salary by playing through the pain at $35 million per year.

He owes it to his employer and the fans by doing that, not just settling with being a well-compensated cheerleader. He creates bad optics from a fan’s perspective and a teammate’s perspective by not playing.

Don’t say it’s pointless for the Nets point guard to play when the team is not good enough to beat the Toronto Raptors in the first round. This is about him being there when his teammates need him the most. This is about him being a leader, not a follower. This is about him being a man in a man’s league. In the NBA, it’s survival to the fittest.

By not playing this summer, the six-time NBA All-Star expresses no interest in helping the Nets out and competing. It sends a message to his teammates they are not worth his time by playing. Perception turns into reality about him being a bad teammate.

The former Cavaliers star came off disinterested and disengaged for the Boston Celtics last season when his team played the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round. Even the Celtics winning the first game against the Bucks did not inspire him to play hard and want to win. He wanted the season to be over with by being passive.

The Nets knew his idiosyncrasies. They know he doesn’t love basketball whatsoever. He looks at it as a job the way your average employee looks at his or her nine-to-five job. Still, they knew they had to get him to get Durant. The least he can do is give back to the game by playing through an injury rather than act like an entitled brat.

No one goes through the season 100 percent, but players play through it and grind. Irving took off for months, so he should have no reason to not play now, even if he is not 100 percent. He must learn how to build strength and flexibility. Being resourceful through injuries comes with experience and age, and Irving played for a long time now that he should play through injuries.

Irving chickened out by not playing a game in his return to Boston this year. He milked his injury and extended it for weeks to claim he was really hurting rather than dealing with the Celtics fans, who had every right to boo him. It was stupid then, and it’s stupid now.

For one, he should have self-respect for himself and change how people view him. He obviously does not care what others think, but he should care what his teammates think of him not wanting to go to play with them because it’s not convenient for him.

Irving made no impact for the Nets this year. They did so much losing with him.
The least he can do is play this postseason.

Featured Image: Mike Stobe/Getty Images
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