October 7, 2022

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Sports Really Satisfies

Kyrie Irving pledges allegiance to Nets, and ‘managing this franchise’ is now apparently part of his job too

In October of 2018, Kyrie Irving sat in front of a bunch of Celtics season-ticket holders and pledged to re-sign with Boston “if you guys will have me back.” About eight months later, after basically throwing in the towel on a playoff series, Irving bolted for Brooklyn.

So take it for whatever you feel it’s worth that Irving now says he intends to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets, who, ironically enough, were just swept out of the playoffs by the Celtics. 

“In terms of my extension, man, I don’t really plan on going anywhere,” Irving said. 

Irving has a $36.5 million player option for next season. Normally, a player of Irving’s stature who is still in the prime of his abilities would decline that option to sign another long-term contract, but given Irving’s unreliability over the years, are the Nets ready to commit to him for another three or four years beyond next season? We’ll see how that plays out, but for now, at Irving’s word, he plans to be in Brooklyn. 

In addition to this grain-of-salt commitment to Kev and the Nets, Irving, who more or less said he considered himself one of the Nets’ head coaches after Steve Nash was hired as the actual coach in September of 2020, now apparently believes his job description also includes “managing this franchise” alongside Kevin Durant and, you know, the actual managers. 

“When I say I’m here with Kev, I think that it really entails us managing this franchise together alongside Joe (Tsai, the owner) and Sean (Marks, the GM) and just our group of family members that we have in our organization,” Irving said. “So it’s not just about me and Kev, I don’t want to make it just about that. We are cornerstones here, but we have Ben, we have a few other guys under contract. 

“And I think we just gotta make some moves this offseason, really talk about it and really be intentional about what we’re building and have some fun with it, make it enjoyable and hopefully we get to start from Day 1 just as a squad and as a family and we just really worry about us,” Irving continued. “You know, sometimes I feel like the noise on the external world or outside noise can seep in, and, you know, I’m not the type of person to allow that to happen. So as we build together as a squad, I just think we need to be tougher mentally and just more honest about what we want to accomplish and just stick to the goal, stick to the mission.”

Irving is being genuine here, and he’s giving what he believes to be a thoughtful answer. He always believes that. That doesn’t make listening to him any less exhausting. If you’ve tuned him out by now, you’re not alone. It’s not news that star players have at least some kind of voice in their front offices’ decision-making processes these days, but for Irving to state it like this, that “managing this franchise” alongside, you know, the actual managers is now a part of his job description, well, I’d say it’s ridiculous, but it’s also Kyrie. Ridiculous comes with the territory. And it certainly doesn’t seem to be something that will change anytime soon given Irving’s comments on agreeing to a new deal with the Nets. 

Irving also said in his postgame press conference on Monday that he felt like he was “letting the team down” when he wasn’t able to play for so much of the season due to his unwillingness to take the COVID vaccine, and that “it became a distraction at times.”

You think? 

This Nets season was an absolute disaster, and Irving was at the center of it all. Same as the Celtics’ 2018-19 regular season which was a total disaster that turned into an early playoff exit, and Irving was also at the center of that. The dude is pure drama. How about just once we keep it basketball and talk about his averaging 15 points on 18-percent 3-point shooting over the final three games of this four-game sweep? 

Maybe work on playing a little better, and a little more often, before you start coaching and working in the front office, too.