When It Comes To Nets Trading Irving, Beware Of Garbage In, Garbage Out
We’ve all seen the dangers from fictional theories that metastasize. It’s certainly infinitely less harmful when they occur within the realm of sports than in the real world, but sometimes enough is enough.
The kerfuffle that has me all riled up started when some talking head on a cable TV show tweeted out last week that it would make sense for the Nets to trade superstar guard Kyrie Irving, but his agents have made it known that Irving would retire from the NBA rather than play for anyone other than Brooklyn.
In the immortal words of the late, great Norm Macdonald: Wait, what? There doesn’t appear to be any basis to even go there. Have any deals between the Nets and other teams been discussed? Have any of the usual suspects, like ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski or The Athletic’s Shams Charania, reported on any rumors?
Of course not, yet this clown’s “report” has taken on a life of its own. On Wednesday, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, whose own reporting accuracy is worse than the three-point efficiency of Andre Drummond yet knows how to generate eyeballs with outlandish takes, mentioned on air that Irving might have ended up in Philadelphia in exchange for disgruntled Ben Simmons, but fellow Big 3 member Kevin Durant went to Nets General Manager Sean Marks and nixed the deal.
What is wrong with these people? There’s just no way that the Nets would do such a deal when they’re on the precipice of beginning what should be a storied season. Trading Irving to a conference rival? For a player who’s elite defense and transition skills could not overwrite the narrative in Philly that he’s scared to be aggressive in fourth quarters because of his shooting deficiencies?
Irving has always been a lightning rod for controversy over the course of his 10-year NBA career. The truth is that he’s done way more good for society than given credit for and even some of his more panned quotes had plenty of truth tucked in them.
Irving’s style on the court, with virtuoso handles and finishes around the basket, have made him a magnet for injuries, including a Game 4 ankle sprain that knocked him out of last season’s second-round series versus Milwaukee that the Nets eventually lost in seven games. However, I’d still take him over Simmons if a championship is the goal. Irving hit one of the most clutch shots in NBA history, the dagger three-pointer to beat Golden State in Game 7 of the 2016 Finals. Simmons had a significantly easier opportunity to play the role of a crunch-time Game 7 hero against Atlanta in last season’s Conference Finals, but he passed up a wide-open dunk so he could deliver the ball underneath to teammate Matisse Thybulle, who got fouled. The Sixers wound up losing the game.
As the Daily News’ Kristian Winfield put it last week, anyone who thinks a framework for this trade exists should be drug-tested. It lacks common sense. Minnesota is a likely landing spot for Simmons, especially now after they just fired General Manager Gersson Rosas. Maybe the Sixers will luck out and get one of the T-Wolves’ top young players. They’re not getting Kyrie.
I get that some may view the fact that Irving, who can opt out of his contract after this season, hasn’t yet signed an extension may have triggered the spinning of wheels inside the Nets’ brain trust. But there are a myriad of reasons why his--and James Harden’s--new deals haven’t gotten done. Marks told the media on Tuesday that he will be working on them over the first two weeks of training camp.
Still, you know who did sign a contract extension back in early August? KD--the best basketball player on the planet. Do you really think he would commit to four more seasons (through 2025-26) in Brooklyn if he wasn’t attuned to the organization’s vision? Logically, he was told in advance that the long-term plan included both Harden and Irving, but not center DeAndre Jordan.
Then again, logic never stands a chance in the Hot Take Industrial Complex. It’s garbage in, garbage out, recycled every few weeks.