The Brooklyn Nets had a pretty big offseason.
A West Orange, New Jersey native, Irving grew up liking the then-New Jersey Nets when they ran the NBA’s Eastern Conference during the days of Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson.
Irving was a fan of Kidd.
“Watching him play was a pleasure,” Irving told me of Kidd when he was hired as head coach of Brooklyn back in 2013.
“His IQ. Just watching the way he plays the game. Not many people have that niche and that feel for the game.”
As a kid, Irving watched that Nets team make back to back trips to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003.
Scott would later coach Irving earlier in his career with the Cavaliers.
Full circle moment joining the Nets.
“I think it’s big for him and for his family,” NBA Hall of Famer, Shaquille O’Neal told me on Scoop B Radio.
“They’re a franchise that hasn’t been talked about a lot.”
An NBA champion as the starting point guard of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, Irving’s NYC and hoop ties run deep.
Irving’s dad, Drederick is a native New Yorker from the borough of the Bronx; as is Irving’s godfather, Rod Strickland.
They both grew up in the Mitchell Houses in the South Bronx.
Irving’s father played basketball at Boston University and ironically had a tryout with the Celtics, Irving’s former team before opting to play overseas basketball.
Strickland saw Kyrie Irving dribble a ball from time to time in the backyard and used to tell Drederick Irving, “He’s going to make you some money.”
The first time Strickland saw Irving play in an actual game was when he was in high school when ironically he played in LeBron James’ camp, where Irving put on an absolute show.
“My first eyes on Kyrie as a hooper, I saw him play in Springfield, Massachusetts,” Rod Strickland told me last summer on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“He made passes, but he was such a gifted scorer and ball-handler that he could put the ball in the hole. But I knew he was special right away. There are some things that everybody’s not doing, so when I see somebody play with both hands, the way he was playing with it in high school, that’s special. You don’t see that a lot.”
Kyrie Irving is a Net along with Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan.They’ll join a pretty potent Nets roster that includes center, Jarrett Allen who averaged 10.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 80 starts for last season’s 42-40 Nets squad.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Allen told AM New York’s Derrel Jazz Johnson.
“I feel like I had a pretty good season last year. I have a lot to show them. I have a lot of knowledge in my mind that I can share with them.”
The Nets also have potent roster with names like Caris LeVert, Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie.
Shaquille O’Neal likes the new-look Nets because it gives New York something to talk about in hoops other than the New York Knicks.
“Jay-Z gave them a little steam when he said he was the owner,” Shaq told Scoop B Radio.
“He’s going to be there with KD so they should make a lot of noise. Only unfortunate part for the first time in New York history the Knicks aren’t the important team. That’s kind of funny to me.”