1676801848 Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durants trade requests were about gaining

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant’s trade requests were about gaining control, but also at a cost to the NBA

SALT LAKE CITY – The world is a circus around Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, even with NBA All-Star Game media availability where people should be used to having access to the best basketball players in the world.

Durant was asked if he was in a zombie apocalypse which of his teammates he would take with him. He shook his head and said without explanation, “Deandre Ayton.” A pointless answer to a pointless question. Irving’s experience was no different. He said he wished he was asked more questions that made him think more deeply about the game, and within minutes he was talking about how if he weren’t in the NBA, he “would be one of those people who do hotel reviews.” . All of this will be broadcast for anyone who is interested.

You cannot blame them for acting in their own interest in the face of constant chaos. Is this good for the game? They’ve thought about it too, and their opinion on their trade requests seems genuine.

“I don’t think it’s bad for the league,” Durant said of finding a move to the Phoenix Suns after Irving’s departure. “It brings more eyes to the league, more people are more excited. The tweets I get, the hit news we got from me that gets traded, Kyrie that gets traded, it just brings more exposure to the league and really what makes you money is when you get more exposure. So I think it’s great for the league to be honest.”

Durant removes the facade of loyalty and exposes the deal, or at least his side of it. If you thought a four-year, $200 million deal meant your favorite player was signed to play for your favorite team, you were wrong. The pledge was written in pencil, as was any joint investment with the city’s faithful.

Durant seems to welcome the idea of ​​being a hitman as long as he drives commitment to the NBA, and he justifies this by saying to himself, “Teams have been trading players and making acquisitions for a long time. Now that a player can kind of dictate where they want to go and go or request a trade, that’s part of the game now, so I don’t think it’s a bad thing.” There’s a lot of truth in that.

The story goes on

It’s also not often that teams swap stars against their will. Isaiah Thomas is the one players point to when equating their trade requests with a team’s willingness to turn them down. DeMar DeRozan is another. Both were devastated to learn they had been dealt – to two superior players who demanded a trade.

“Why doesn’t anyone have the ability to ask for trades? That’s my question,” Irving said Saturday, two weeks after the Brooklyn Nets granted his trade request and six years after his earlier request sent Thomas to the Cleveland Cavaliers. “When did making great business decisions for yourself and your happiness and peace of mind become awful? Not every employer you’re going to get along with, so if you get a chance to go somewhere else, do it legally I don’t think there’s a problem with that.”

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving speaks during a media presence during the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City on February 18, 2023. (Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images)Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving speaks during a media presence during the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City on February 18, 2023. (Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images)

Teams are designed to act in the best interest of the fans, even if it doesn’t always appear that way. They want to get better (or get worse, with the intention of getting better in the long run). Superstars don’t always operate under the same parameters, and trade requests make it clear when they deviate completely. Where Irving seems to part ways with Durant is the notion that the public interest is part of the job description.

“The speculation and narrative makes this conversation seem a little more important or important than it actually is. Like it’s my life It’s not just a dream for everyone to gossip about,” added Irving. “I take it very seriously and most of the work I do goes unseen so I don’t know if it’s ever really appreciated but overall if you work as hard as I do or anyone else I think that in any given profession you should have freedom and liberty to go where you are wanted, where you are celebrated and where you are comfortable, so I wouldn’t say any of my situations were bad.

Therein lies truth again. Players should feel wanted, celebrated and comfortable. The NBA is no ordinary job either. Stars are paid nine-figure salaries, largely on the premise that fans are invested in their success, often with a specific team. If you pay to see Creed III in theaters, you’ll see Michael B. Jordan, not the one who surprisingly replaces him once he abandons the project.

And if your mortgage lender chooses to leave one branch for another across the country, it’s not like the other branch is forcing one of their employees to go the other way to replace them. Irving’s freedom didn’t matter if Dorian Finney-Smith was coveted, celebrated, or comfortable in Brooklyn.

Referring to the many ripple effects resulting from public trade demands, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said during his annual All-Star Game press conference, “I think that’s a bad thing. I think it sucks for the system. Fans certainly don’t like it. Even a lot of players don’t like it because they can end up going to a certain team believing that player will still be there.

Silver seemed to distinguish between public trade demands and those made behind closed doors, but the end result is often the same, especially when demands made privately are leaked to the media. So it was remarkable that Silver sounded more sympathetic to Durant and Irving on the matter.

“You want to find the right balance,” Silver said ahead of Saturday’s All-Star contests. “Obviously you want players to honor their contracts and at the same time some level of player movement is good. So strongly against anything that is said publicly. I agree that some level of player movement is good but I think it is must be done in partnership and respect the agreements that players and teams make.”

It’s still unclear why Irving wanted to leave the Nets beyond their differences on his next deal. Even Durant said earlier in the week, “I didn’t know what was going on with Kyrie and his situation with the organization.” Irving has made veiled references to disagreements with Brooklyn’s front office that superseded his finances, but though he said on Saturday: ” Now I can speak truthfully about it,” he offered little clarification:

“We had a conversation between me, [general manager] sean [Marks], [team owner] yeah [Tsai], upper management and the front office and I just told them that I would like to have more shared responsibility if we are to build a future here. They gave me all the right answers – “Yes, yes, yes”. The moment it comes out in the media, it’s like, ‘Who does this guy think he is? He wants to work in the front office,” and that’s not the angle I came from. I just wanted to bring in some great guys.

“I know cohesion. I know how to win games, but at this point in my career it’s about leading and also following with the right people around me. In Brooklyn I would have loved things to work out and for the long term would stay there.” but Dallas, they called. [Mavericks owner] To mark [Cuban] my phone rang [general manager] Nico [Harrison] my phone rang and I’m grateful they did because I know they wanted me for my work ethic, my leadership skills and also my consistency in what I bring to the team and I just want that show every day. That’s it.

“So judge me on those actions rather than what I talk about with management and how it looks from the outside. Most of the things you hear about aren’t true or 100% true behind the scenes and it’s not reported, so I think I have to find a balance of just knowing that some things are being talked about and others not, but how I deal with the team and how I deal with myself and others is what I can control.”

I’m not quite sure what to think of this. What comes through is the feeling that amidst all the chaos around him, Irving is understandably looking for more of what he can control. His pursuit also comes at the expense of those who have less influence than him, be they fans or colleagues. Teams can be disloyal, but it’s no better the other way around. Both reveal hard truths about the NBA, the fandom and the circus they created.