Just as everything seemed to be going well in Brooklyn, Nets guard Kyrie Irving decided he had had enough.
On Friday, Irving requested a trade away from Brooklyn ahead of the NBA’s February 9th trade deadline.
If Irving is not traded, he will leave the organization as a free agent this summer, according to a report by The Athletic.
NETS’ KYRIE IRVING REQUESTS TRADE OUT OF BROOKLYN BEFORE DEADLINE: REPORT
While it is out of the blue, the news does not come as a total surprise to many in the NBA world, as it is par for the course for Irving’s tumultuous time in Brooklyn.
On Friday, ESPN and NBA personality Stephen A. Smith weighed in, ripping the eight-time All-Star’s trade request.
“Idiotic. Let’s get that out the way,” Smith said Friday on ESPN’s “NBA Today.”
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“Here’s a guy in Kyrie Irving that for the last three years, who’s gotten most of his money but missed more than 50% of his games, enters the last year after this offseason. Obviously, the situation he got himself into earlier this year was unfortunate, but he resurrected himself from that.”
Smith was referring to Irving’s eight-game suspension earlier in the season after sharing an antisemitic film on social media.
After a slow start to the season that resulted in head coach Steve Nash and the organization parting ways, Irving and the Nets have played well.
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Irving was selected as an All-Star starter for the Eastern Conference, and the Nets sit at 31-20, good for fourth place in the East.
Smith acknowledged how well Irving has played this season, but he questioned whether Irving could avoid being a distraction.
“No one questioned that,” Smith continued when discussing Irving's talent. “All we ever questioned was, can the man go the rest of the season without being any kind of distraction if he’s gonna have a chance to get his money? And lo and behold, he pulls this. And why? Because the Brooklyn Nets had the temerity, the unmitigated gall, to say, ‘Play the season. We’ll see, because we haven’t had you for a full season without any drama.’ And here he is again.”
The trade request came about after Irving and the Nets had failed to reach a contract extension. Irving is reportedly seeking somewhere in the area of four years, $198.5 million, according to ESPN.
The LA Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat have been discussed as possible suitors for Irving's services.