Kyrie Irving’s final season in Boston had many bumps in the road, and it seems some of that turbulence has followed him to the Brooklyn Nets, where he signed a four-year, $141 million contract this offseason.
According to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, Irving has already had slight problems with the Nets, including an incident that occurred while the Nets were in China. MacMullan wrote that it stems from “Irving’s infamous mood swings” which the star guard has exhibited at all three of his stops in the NBA and that it has Nets officials concerned and feeling “queasy.”
“I look at Kyrie as somebody who is an artist,” Kevin Durant told MacMullan. “You have to leave him alone. You know what he’ll bring to the table every night because he cares so much about the game.
”Now, it might not be how other people want him to care about it. He has his way of doing things. I respect who he is and what he does. He has all the intangibles you want in a teammate and a great player. So, how he gets to the point to be ready for 7:30 every night, I’m supporting him 100 percent.”
Irving has also demonstrated a little pushback to the rigid practice system the Nets employ. During a minicamp practice in which Brooklyn wanted to gather biometric data through wearable devices on their players, Irving refused to participate, team sources told MacMullan, creating an “awkward moment” between Irving and some of the Nets mainstay players, who have used the technology to their benefit.
“Look,” said Nets coach Kenny Atkinson to MacMullan. “These guys have won championships. They come from darn good pedigrees, and we’ve thrown some things at them that they’ve said, ‘Hell no!’”
The plan for Irving, Durant and DeAndre Jordan to all play together on the same team seemed to be hatched on a yacht in Rio de Janeiro where the trio stayed while playing for Team USA during the 2016 Summer Olympics.
After his second season in Boston ended with a disappointing second-round exit in the playoffs to the Milwaukee Bucks, Irving told Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge in his exit interview that he was leaving Boston for Brooklyn, according to MacMullan.
MacMullan also stated that Irving “implored” Durant and Jordan to join him in Brooklyn.
“The brotherhood was real,” said Irving to MacMullan, “but circumstances kept us apart.”
Irving will face Boston for the first time since playing for the C’s on Nov. 27 at the TD Garden. Two days later, the C’s will see Irving again in a matinee contest in Brooklyn. The Celtics and the Irving-led Nets will square off two more times after that in the regular season.
Three games into his Brooklyn tenure, Irving is averaging 37.7 points, 6.3 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game.