Why the Nets Shouldn’t Have Traded Kyrie Irving

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Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Another year, another Kyrie Irving controversy. A couple of days ago, Kyrie Irving made it known to the Brooklyn Nets that he wants to be traded before the NBA trade deadline. And while controversy has followed him wherever he goes, the Mavericks made the Nets an offer they apparently could not refuse. But the Nets should not have given in to his demands.

Reportedly, Irving and the Nets were trying to work out a long-term deal to keep him in Brooklyn. After the Nets added some stipulations Irving didn’t like, he had enough and wanted out. And there were reports that he was prepared to sit the rest of the season if he didn’t get his way. From an optics standpoint, the Nets season would look finished if they didn’t trade him. But they shouldn’t have traded him because even if they didn’t, their season would have still ended regardless.

Whether it’s his vaccination stance, sharing controversial antisemitic content, or what have you, Kyrie Irving has been a toxic asset for the Nets. He was a toxic asset for the Celtics before that and a toxic asset in his final year as a Cavalier. For as amazingly talented, he is as a player, he’s just as talented at giving front offices massive headaches. No team was ever offering anything as good as Irving to the Nets, and why should they have? Time and time again, he has caused problems for his own team both on and off the court. And with the short notice request, Irving has given the Nets almost no leverage.

And while the Mavericks eventually pulled the trigger, Irving still wants a long-term contract after this season. It is hard to believe the Mavericks won’t try to handle this the same way the Nets did and try to insert their own contract stipulations into the contract. Irving has killed a lot of his own leverage in that regard. It’s just another thing that reflects poorly on him. Why would the Mavericks be so inclined not to hold him to any accountability with his track record?

The Brooklyn Nets shouldn’t have allowed Irving to walk all over them. For as much leverage as Irving took away from them, he took just as much away from himself. His threat to sit was another step in that direction. He’s a big reason why the Harden-KD-Irving experiment didn’t work, and now he gets to put the final nail in the coffin while facing no consequences. The Nets shouldn’t have given in, not only for themselves but for the league. It sends an unhealthy precedent as a whole. The best option for either side was for Irving to finish out the season playing for Brooklyn, and if he still wanted to leave, then work out a sign and trade. It would’ve been best for both sides to have a mutual, respectful breakup to at least give off the facade of competence.

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