Kyrie Irving remains away from the Brooklyn Nets, with no specified timetable for his return. Earlier this week, he went out partying in Toronto for a family birthday party. By that token, this appearance on a Zoom for New York City district attorney candidate Tahanie Aboushi almost seems benign:
— Waleed Shahid (@_waleedshahid) January 13, 2021
This Zoom took place in the vicinity of a Nets game in which Irving’s teammates were playing against the Denver Nuggets. However clearly they express it, it’s human nature for their frustration with Irving to be reaching a boiling point. Asked about the videos of Irving partying, Steve Nash had a look of exasperation on his face and pretended like he hadn’t seen them.
Steve Nash on the Kyrie Irving video that has surfaced online: "I didn't see it" pic.twitter.com/eL0vBgK0Lc
— SNY (@SNYtv) January 12, 2021
Here is what I wrote yesterday about Irvin’s partying and general sabbatical:
If these videos are real, it kind of calls to mind the scene in the The Last Dance where Dennis Rodman left the Bulls to go party in Vegas with Carmen Electra. Michael Jordan had to go looking for him to bring him back to the team. Now, there are obviously different circumstances. Foremost, the Bulls were two-time defending champions, and the Nets are on their quest for their first with this group. However, part of me wonders if Irving saw that and became emboldened by the fact that there weren’t really long-term consequences for Rodman. The Bulls knew they needed him.
None of this is to excuse Kyrie Irving’s behavior (whether or not the party is new, he did not inform Nets head coach Steve Nash about any details regarding his absence, at least in the beginning). It’s obviously unprofessional, but there’s only so many ways to say that and they’ve all been said.
Irving knows that he has leverage, just like James Harden knew that he had leverage to skip the beginning of camp to party at strip clubs. The Nets’ best chances at a title are with a motivated Irving. They knew he was mercurial when they signed him. Now, they have to hope and pray that when the time comes, he performs. But even if the Nets tire of him, there are only 30 NBA franchises and there aren’t nearly that many players as talented as he is. Eventually the time will come where his troubles outweigh his talents, but it doesn’t feel to me like we’re there yet.