Rival teams reportedly have called the Nets about star point guard Kyrie Irving, but it doesn’t appear as if anyone wants to pull the trigger on a trade — perhaps including the Nets.
Several league executives addressed the Irving rumors to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.
“For the most part, every front office and coaching staff is scared to death of him and doesn’t want to touch him,” Scotto quoted a league executive as saying. “Honestly, it might’ve been four teams before this (his refusal to get vaccinated). He’s a guy that front offices don’t trust. Coaches don’t want to deal with him. Players like him.”
Irving is sitting out as he has refused to get vaccinated. That would make him only eligible to play in the Nets’ road games, given New York’s vaccine mandate. The Nets have decided to sit Irving as opposed to play him in 41 of the 82 games.
“He’s a max player, who people would not give up assets you’d traditionally give up,” an NBA executive told Scotto. “There’s so much risk associated with him that I think most teams wouldn’t pay in a trade what you’d expect someone to pay given his skill level when he’s at his best.”
Irving has been linked to the 76ers as a possible return for disgruntled star Ben Simmons, though those reports have been shot down. Still, one executive seems to believe such a deal would make sense, all things considered.
“I would’ve said Philly legitimately made sense with the swap of Ben Simmons and Kyrie,” one of the executives told Scotto. “That’s a team I could’ve seen who’s going for it and needs a scoring guard. That’s literally the only one I could see.”
The Nets suspect Irving isn’t going to get vaccinated, and therefore, will not return to game action. He does, however, remain a member of the roster, being sent home but not suspended.
“The bottom line is, Kyrie Irving is not vaccinated,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski told colleague Malika Andrews, via Net Income and Alec Sturm of Nets Daily. “At this point he doesn’t sound as though he is about to get vaccinated to be able to return and play for this Nets team. And the Nets are preparing for the fact that’s he’s not gonna be there.”
“I am doing what’s best for me. I know the consequences here and if it means that I’m judged and demonized for that, that’s just what it is,” Irving said. “That’s the role I play, but I never wanted to give up my passion, my love, my dream just over this mandate.”
Irving, 29, averaged 26.9 points and 6.0 assists in 54 games last season, his second in Brooklyn.