When the Brooklyn Nets were able to add Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and then finally James Harden, some fans and experts believed that it was only a matter of time before the team won an NBA championship.
Now, with the 2022 postseason arriving, the story is quite different for the Nets. First off, Harden isn’t even on the team anymore. He was traded before the deadline.
Beyond that, the team hasn’t really looked like a championship squad this season despite its talent. The Nets were not even able to earn a playoff spot outright and will have to battle the pesky Cleveland Cavaliers in the first leg of the play-in tournament.
One recent article detailed how the Nets have struggled since creating their own superteam, and an interesting tidbit arose as a result. According to the article, players, coaches and executives who were with the Cavs when Irving played in Cleveland gave the Nets “negative intel” on the star guard.
“Yet talent comes with cost, especially with Irving,” Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN reported. “League sources say executives, coaches and players who were present during Irving’s time in Cleveland and Boston shared with the Nets negative intel — his unresponsiveness and truculence with coaches, his lack of self-awareness with teammates, his constant defiance of offensive game plans, his disinterest in playing off the ball. But the Nets, multiple sources say, knew that bringing Irving aboard was the cost of doing business: No Irving, No Kevin Durant.”
Some fans might not be surprised by this. Irving has had pretty substantial issues at every stop he has made during his NBA career. Cavs fans remember the drama he created at the end of his tenure with the team, and Boston Celtics fans can relate.
Though he is an incredibly talented player, there are likely many teams out there that believe the headache of having Irving around would not be worth it. Moreover, the distractions do not contribute to winning.
With just hours to go before the Cavs battle the Nets in the play-in tournament, the Cavs have a chance to prove to Irving that they’re on a fantastic path without him.