Kendrick Perkins rips Kyrie Irving amid trade request
Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving sent a bombshell across the NBA Friday afternoon, reportedly requesting a trade after the two sides could not agree to an extension. Shortly after the request was reported, former teammate and current ESPN NBA Analyst Kendrick Perkins ripped Irving for the additional drama he’s created amid his trade request on NBA Today.
“This is Kyrie Irving. A guy that you cannot trust,” he said. “Didn’t Kyrie Irving just say that Kevin Durant was his best friend? Right? So where is the loyalty? Right? If that’s your best friend, I don’t want that.
“Give me an enemy. For the simple fact that when you look at how Kevin Durant has been riding for Kyrie Irving since they arrived in Brooklyn …standing behind him through whatever his beliefs were, whatever he was doing, riding with him over James Harden.”
For as mesmorizing as Irving, 30, is on the court with his remarkable ballhandling, finishing and scoring prowess, he’s not been prone to controversy, from how he handled his last season with the Boston Celtics to his COVID-19 vaccination status to his antisemitic movie instagram story.
There’s no indication that Irving, who’s set to be a free agent this upcoming offseason, will get moved six days away from the Feb. 9 trade deadline. There’s reported teams with interest — most notably the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns — but nothing has materialized yet, nor has Irving reportedly sent the Nets a preferred destination.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Irving has been “seeking” a four-year, $198.5 million deal this offseason. When he’s traded, he’s eligible to sign a two-year deal worth nearly $80 million until June 30, the last day of the 2022-23 league year.
“The Nets and Irving’s agent, Shetellia Riley-Irving, had discussed an extension recently, but Brooklyn remained reluctant to rush into a long-term commitment without further evidence that Irving could stay reliable, perform at a high level and remain controversy-free, sources said. Rival teams expect the Nets to prepare for the possibility that the trade request is a leverage play on contract talks by Irving, and that could impact how the organization moves with regards to possible Irving deals.”
There’s the possibility that Irving is traded to a destination that will ultimately extend him, since any team who acquires Irving would own his full bird-rights. But at the same time, the No. 4-seeded Nets — who don’t want to lose Irving to nothing — don’t have to cater to Irving’s wishes. If he were to sign elsewhere, it would likely have to be completed via a sign-and-trade, thus hard-capping the organization he signs with, likely limiting future flexibility.
But to Perkins’ point, will a team be willing to commit to Irving, who’s carried a lot of off-the-court baggage over the last several years and only played 45.5 percent of his games with Brooklyn due to injuries and refusal to take the vaccine before this season? That will be something worth monitoring as we approach the deadline.
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