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In the least surprising NBA news of the year, Brooklyn Nets All-Star Kyrie Irving is unhappy and has requested to be traded by the February 9th deadline.
Shams Charania says that Irving’s request comes as he and the Nets are at an impasse in regard to their contract negotiations.
According to the NBA talking heads, the most likely trade partners for the Nets are the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks.
The rift is reportedly due to the Nets front office trying to attach stipulations for guarantees in Irving’s contact offer. But after all the headaches that were caused by Irving, what did he expect? There has been one controversy after another since Brooklyn signed him in 2019.
Between injuries, unwillingness to take the COVID-19 vaccination, and antisemitic commentary, Irving is the least reliable NBA player ever. Regardless of where you stand on any of these issues, he is an objectively terrible teammate.
This latest Irving incident is directly effect the Nets in the betting market.
Aside from his non-basketball drama, Kyrie has been awesome this year. Irving was voted a starter for the Eastern Conference in this year’s NBA All-Star Game.
Irving is averaging 27.1 points per game (PPG) on 48.6% shooting (37.4% from behind the arc). Since KD’s injury (January 12th), Kyrie is averaging 30.3 PPG on 48.0% shooting (39.6% from 3).
But, all of this drama is why I could never bet Nets’ futures in the preseason. KD was always going to miss time with an injury and Irving was always going to cause an issue.
At the time of Kyrie’s trade demand/request, Brooklyn is currently 5.5 games behind the first-place Boston Celtics in the East and 4 games up on the New York Knicks for the 7th- and 1st-play-in seed.
I’d be looking to short the Nets but DraftKings pulled all their other futures off the board. There are other books offering better than 10-to-1 on Brooklyn to participate in the Eastern Conference play-in tourney.
Until DraftKings starts taking action on Brooklyn futures, the best betting advice I could offer is to fade the Nets in the short-term. We know how loyal KD is to Kyrie so perhaps Durant requests out as well?
(You can listen to the audio versions of my daily NBA handicaps on the NBA Hoops At Lunch show on the OutKick Bets Podcast feed Monday-Friday.)
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