Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving broke his media silence this week. Among the topics he touched on was the lingering speculation that James Harden may end up getting traded to his squad.
As far as Irving is concerned, he just wants the best for Harden.
“I just want him to be happy and secure in who is he as a man first, and then as a basketball person,” he said.
“I played with so many great players in this league and we all want to play with one another and now we just gotta focus in and zero in on what’s out here on our floor,” he added.
Irving and his teammates obviously hear the rumors, but what happens beyond that is outside of their control.
“We can’t control those rumors,” he said. “We wish him well…We’ve got to focus on our players…James is a great player.”
Harden has been engaged in something of a testy standoff with the Houston Rockets. He wants the organization to trade him to Brooklyn so that he can play alongside his former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Kevin Durant, but up to this point Houston has resisted.
Irving, meanwhile, has been involved in his own standoff – with the media.
Over the past two weeks he had declined multiple requests to speak to reporters. As a result, both he and the Nets were fined $25,000 by the NBA for failure to comply with the league’s media rules.
Last Friday, Irving made his opinion on the fine very clear.
“I pray we utilize the ‘fine money’ for the marginalized communities in need, especially seeing where our world is presently,” Irving wrote.
“[I am] here for Peace, Love, and Greatness. So stop distracting me and my team, and appreciate the Art. We move different over here.
“I do not talk to Pawns. My attention is worth more.”
On Monday, Irving clarified what he meant by that.
“The focus is on what’s going on here. You know, my job,” he said. “And I wanted to make sure that, that was clear. No distractions, nothing about dispelling anything, nothing about going back and forth, nothing about calling out one person or another, not even refer to you guys as pawns. You know what I mean? Or media. It’s just really how I felt about the mistreatment of certain artists, when we get to a certain platform of when we make decisions within our lives to have full control and ownership.
“You know, we go through a rigorous season, we do everything we’re asked to do and we want to perform in a secure, protected space — and if I can’t have my voice protected on this platform where I offer myself and my art, just inviting everyone to it because this is what I’ve been blessed to do. You know I didn’t make it from the best circumstances, I made it because my family had a foundation, taught me the right things, how to look at principles of life. So, having that in basketball, my art, you know, it’s just finding a balance, you know, and that’s all.”
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— Game 7 (@game7__) December 14, 2020
One of the other interesting things that came out of Irving’s conversation with the media this week was his take on new team head coach, Steve Nash.
“Steve has been amazing,” he said.
“Got a two-time NBA MVP. Everyone is coaching one another to be better.”
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— Game 7 (@game7__) December 14, 2020
Irving was similarly complimentary of working with new assistant coach Mike D’Antoni, calling it “incredible.”
Based on his comments this week, Irving seems to be in good spirits.
How will that attitude carry over into the season? Time will tell.
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.