76ers MUST Avoid Kyrie Irving

Photo by: Bart Young | 2022 NBAE via Getty Images

Kyrie Irving is arguably one of the five most talented Point Guards in the history of professional basketball.

Irving’s elite ball-handling skills combined with his ability to score from anywhere on the court has established him as one of the league’s premier players over the past decade.

So, having said as much; Irving is clearly an asset that any team would be lucky to acquire, right?

Not exactly.

Despite his undeniable talent and mounting list of accomplishments since entering the league with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011; Irving has developed into an extremely polarizing figure as his constant antics throughout the years have resulted in the superstar being widely-recognized as one of the NBA’s biggest prima-donnas.

Before forcing his way out of Cleveland and onto the Boston Celtics prior to the 2018 NBA season, Irving played a monumental role on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2016 championship team.

The primary reason for Irving forcing his way out of Cleveland (even after winning a championship) is because the superstar was tired of playing second fiddle to Lebron James.

Getting exactly what he wanted, Irving spent the next two seasons as the centerpiece of the Boston Celtics. During this span, Kyrie led the Celtics to consecutive playoff appearances, but never managed to carry the team past the Eastern Conference Finals.

Throughout the second of Irving’s two seasons in Boston (2018-2019 NBA Season), the superstar publicly expressed his intent to re-sign with the organization on numerous occasions.

However, despite his verbal commitments to the Boston Celtics organization, Irving ultimately changed his mind the following off-season and opted to join Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets through free agency.

This betrayal on the part of Irving produced a contentious breakup with both the Celtics and their fan-base.

With Irving’s spurning of the Celtics in the Summer of 2019, the superstar had now forced his way out of both organizations that he had suited up for since joining the NBA.

Fast forwarding to today; Irving is currently in the midst of forcing his way out of yet another organization as he recently requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets.

Irving’s time in Brooklyn was likely the most controversial of his three stops thus far. Playing with the Nets through the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 NBA seasons, the COVID-19 Pandemic significantly impacted his tenure with the team.

During the 2021 NBA season, Irving mysteriously missed a total of ten games for what he described as “personal reasons”. Seven of these games were in January, and the other three were in March.

During the initial seven game stretch in January, the Nets made it publicly clear that they were not aware of Irving’s whereabouts, and that they also had no insight into what the star’s “personal reasons” actually were.

Also during this seven game stretch, Irving was spotted attending a maskless indoor party that violated the NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols at the time. The superstar was ultimately fined $50,000 from the league for attending the party.

In his second season with the Nets, Irving missed most of the season due to his refusal of the COVID-19 vaccine. Violating New York City’s vaccine mandate, Irving was not allowed to play in New York or Toronto.

As such, the Nets opted to begin the season without Irving rather than allowing him to join the team as a part-time player.

Irving’s selfishness and subsequent inability to play for much of the season negatively impacted the Nets in more than one way.

James Harden, one-third of the Nets’ “big three” (consisting of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Harden), forced a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers on February 6th.

While never directly confirmed by Harden or Irving, it is widely believed by those around the Nets that Kyrie Irving’s unwillingness to get vaccinated was one of Harden’s primary reasons for forcing his way out of Brooklyn.

Irving’s self-imposed absence for much of the season also led to further team chemistry issues among the Nets’ roster, and greatly diminished the team’s depth capabilities by forcing bench players into larger roles.

It was not until nearly the halfway mark of the season in which the Nets changed their stance on the matter. Plagued by injury as December concluded, the Nets felt they had no choice but to reinstate Irving with the team as a part-time player.

Irving returned for his first game as a part-time player on January 5th, 2022. Irving continued his role as a part-time player for a little bit over two months until March 23rd, 2022.

Now being allowed to play in Brooklyn, Irving was eligible to play full-time throughout the playoffs.

Despite Irving’s presence as a full-time player in the 2022 NBA Playoffs, the Nets were handily embarrassed as they suffered an unexpected first-round sweep at the hands of Irving’s former squad, the Boston Celtics.

So to recap: Kyrie Irving has played for three organizations throughout his NBA career thus far; all of which he has abandoned and left in far worse condition.

Furthermore, at each of Irving’s three stops, the superstar has generated a great deal of controversy; whether it be criticizing fellow teammates (even Lebron James), failing to show up for games or notify his team whenever he simply doesn’t feel like playing, flat-out lying to his organization and fans, putting the health of himself and others (including teammates) at jeopardy, or spreading his asinine flat-earth conspiracy theories.

Simply put, for all the immense talent that he possesses, Kyrie Irving is NOT worth the trouble of dealing with.

Having said as much, as a lifelong Sixers fan myself, it’s extremely concerning to see Irving continuously be linked to the 76ers in potential sign-and-trade scenarios for this offseason.

As such, I believe I speak for the vast majority of Sixers fans when I say that there is no circumstance in which I want Kyrie Irving to ever suit up in a 76ers uniform.

Irving is a generational talent who’s extreme narcissistic deficiencies will not allow him to get out of his own way. There is never enough spotlight for Kyrie Irving, and thus, controversy and dysfunction will always follow him wherever he goes.

As Sixers fans, all we can do for now is cross our fingers and pray that Philadelphia will not act as the next stop for the circus show that is Kyrie Irving’s career.

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