It’s anyone’s guess what Kyrie Irving has done since he has been estranged from the Nets and his teammates.
Irving decided to milk his shoulder injury rather than play through it because it wasn’t worth his time playing without Kevin Durant. He also knows the Nets have no chance against the Toronto Raptors, so he did not want to waste his time.
No one says he is wrong about the Nets’ chances against the Raptors. The Raptors are too good, and they demonstrated that by doling out a 134-110 beating of the Nets in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. These likely spells sweep at this point.
But for the money he makes, he should have been out there with his teammates and taken the Ls with them rather than not caring. It’s called being a leader. It’s called being a teacher in teaching guys like Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, and Joe Harris what it takes to play in the playoffs. It’s about earning his salary rather than stealing money.
For him to not even be on the Nets bench despite being injured is wrong.
Obviously, his teammates won’t say anything because they don’t want Kevin Durant to dumping them next season. They realize Durant is the Nets’ meal ticket, and Irving is Durant’s guy.
Irving can get away with doing everything he wants it seems.
But sooner or later, it will come back to him. The Nets can only tolerate his nonsense for so long. Durant never played with Irving ever, so he does not know what the mercurial point guard is like. It’s interesting he wanted to play with him in an arrangement deal with the Nets. Both guys can be flaky, which would set up a toxic atmosphere.
Irving demonstrated what he can be if things don’t go his way. He played a role in getting Kenny Atkinson fired as Nets coach along with Durant. He complained about his teammates this season by saying they are not good enough.
The Nets have to wonder how long they can tolerate Irving’s act. If he and Durant can’t mesh, they are going to have to get rid of him. The Nets know players such as Allen, LeVert, and Harris shined in the bubble without Irving. They even won games without him.
If Marks had his way, he wouldn’t have wasted his time signing Irving. He knows this point guard is not a winner. He understands that this player does not make anyone better, and it showed this season.
It’s interesting the Celtics went further in the Eastern Conference Playoffs without Irving in his first season two years ago. Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, and Jaylen Brown flourished and won without Irving. And when Irving played with them last season, he struggled to coexist with these guys.
He delighted the Celtics by leaving rather than playing with them. He proved to be an addition by subtraction this season with the Celtics being a much better and entertaining team without him.
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With the Nets, he never won much with them this season. Irving’s teammates managed to lead the Nets to the playoffs without him. This serves as an indictment of Irving right there that they managed to do well without him.
Irving can hide behind Durant all he wants. Sooner or later, the jig will be up. His true colors will be exposed. It remains to be seen if Irving and Durant can play together. Also, can he deal with playing with pain?
Irving invites more questions than answers as he finishes the first year of his contract.
He could have done something about it by playing in the bubble. He could use this opportunity to work with Allen, LeVert, and Harris. He could have worked with Vaughn in preparing for next season. Honestly, he could use some work on his game.
He stole money from the Nets this year by being unproductive and acting like a malcontent. It shouldn’t be too much to ask for him to make up for it by playing through the bubble. It shouldn’t be too much to ask to root his teammates on in the bubble despite this being a lost cause.
If he watches the Nets get their brains beaten in by the Raptors, he should feel guilty.
He should feel guilty even if he is not watching.
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