It’s still all about Kyrie Irving


photo: AP

The player empowerment era has created more opportunities for athletes to develop their own team-building skills, but Kyrie Irving’s media availability on Saturday during All-Star Weekend touched on a topic he’s intimately familiar with — trade inquiries. Irving’s response to inquiries illustrated on the subject his pproblematic “grass is always greener on the other side” perspective.

“What is a bad situation and why does no one have the ability to ask for trades? That’s my question,” Irving explained. “When did making great business decisions for yourself and your happiness and peace of mind become awful? You’re not going to get along with every employer, so if you have the ability to go somewhere else and do it legally, I don’t think there’s a problem with that.”

The problem is that Irving has constant problems with his employers. But as usual, his lack of introspection led him to blame third parties for the instability that plagued his career.

“The speculation and narrative makes this conversation seem a little bit more important and important than it actually is,” Irving told the press. “Well, it’s my life. It’s not just a dream for everyone to gossip about. I take it very seriously, and most of my work doesn’t get seen, so I don’t know if it ever gets any real appreciation. But overall, if you work as hard as I do, or anyone else in a given profession, I think you should have the freedom and liberty to go where you are wanted and celebrated and where you feel comfortable.

Look, trading is a complicated business for professional athletes. They are also inevitable. However, player-initiated trade requests are a different beast, and Irving’s comments about not wanting to backbite while still accepting all the celebrations are the definition of hypocrisy. Irving sees himself as an iconoclast who shuns critical media but has no problem embracing the benefits of fame. He’s done Uncle Drew commercials, a movie, had a signature Nike shoe until a few months ago and thrived on his platform, and yes, he still manages to use his notoriety for good on occasion .

But when he speaks, he is a walking, speaking contradiction. On the one hand, trades are a by-product of guaranteed contracts in the NBA. Players often lament being sent to new cities without notice, pointing out how unfair this arrangement would be in any other industry. Sure, it would be absolutely hilarious to see how studios act actors, but that’s not how the film industry works these days. The NBA is a conglomerate made up of 30 separate franchisees.

Irving called for a trade from Brooklyn because he prefers the security of guaranteed funds from franchises that invest nine figures in it, improving their overall profits and strengthening their branded offerings. Still, he doesn’t understand when he’s criticized for wreaking havoc on teammates in the workplace, supposed friends, coaches, and front offices who rely on him as a reliable teammate. In a team sport, Irving is a me-first, me-second, and me-third guy.

There is nothing wrong with wanderlust. Irving is free to go wherever he pleases after the season when he will be a free agent. Irving’s generation experienced a job change more frequently than anyone else in the last century. That shift in attitude is evident in how LeBron James has gone about his business over the past two decades. In the Summer 2006he signed shorter rookie extensions than the five-year contract along with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade available when Carmelo Anthony signed. In 2011, Anthony grew impatient and demanded a trade with the Knicks. costing the franchise a bushel of supporting players who would have helped the Knicks win a title. Ultimately, Anthony was sold to Oklahoma City in 2014.

Irving is more than ready to sign a number of singles contracts with options in season two, which is what the aforementioned James did when he re-signed with the Cavs. But that would go against one of his reasons for demanding a trade from Brooklyn, who was reluctant to offer him a long-term contract just so he could sow chaos at inopportune times. James is allowed to call himself akBut at his core, he was always a savvy businessman who understood the risk assessment that came with turning down long-term contracts in exchange for more front-office influence.

Irving’s comments echo those of his close friend and former teammate Kevin Durant.

“I don’t think it’s bad for the league. It puts more eyes on the league, more people are more excited,” Durant said. “The tweets I’ve received and the news hits we’ve received from me that are traded, Kyrie that are traded just bring more exposure to the league.”

Durant is right. NASCAR crashes net more clicks and eyeballs than a clean race, and the same goes for teams in turmoil. James and Durant’s legacy is detached from a single franchise. The difference between Irving and James or Durant is the fundamental respect he has for the professionals he works with.

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