The entire NBA was shaken by a June 20 report by Shams Charania of The Athletic. The report stated that Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets were at an “impasse” in their contract negotiations.
“One of the most anticipated free-agency situations involves Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving, who has a June 29 deadline on his $36.9 million player option for the 2022-23 season. However, multiple sources tell The Athletic that conversations about Irving’s future have gone stagnant between him and the Nets. An impasse currently exists among the parties that clears the way for the seven-time All-Star to consider the open marketplace,” Charania writes for “The Athletic”.
But where did this news come from on an early Monday morning release? Some suggest the leak may have come from the party it benefits most, Kyrie Irving.
Was Kyrie Irving Behind the Recent Leaks?
When it comes to the news that breaks, you can generally guess where the leak came by which side it benefits. On the June 22 episode of Basketball Illuminati, NBA insiders Tom Haberstroh and Amin Elhassan explained a bit how leaks happen in the NBA and the possibility Kyrie leaked the ‘impasse‘ news for leverage in negotiations.
“Imagine you’re an NBA player, you want to get your side of the story out there, but you can’t just go out there and say it, right? Because there are all types of repercussions for saying it. We saw that with Anthony Davis a few years back, saying there are a bunch of teams he’d rather play for than the New Orleans Pelicans, and he got fined as a result. So what do you do? How do you get that vibe out there? How do you let teams know prior to your opting out that if you’re interested, maybe I’m interested too? You do a well-positioned leak. You give the information to a news breaker, the news breaker citing the confidentiality of sources will never out you as the one who has given that information. That information that now very publicly paints you in a certain light.” Elhassan suggested.
Some reasons that lend themselves to the possibility that Kyrie was behind Shams, June 20 reporting? Well, Irving did send a cryptic tweet just a little over an hour after the report. The tweet featured the GIF of Brother Mouzone and an iconic character from The Wire. El Hassan, Haberstroh, and producer Anthony Mayes broke down the storyline of Brother Mouzone and The Wire to give valuable context to the tweet and an analogy for why Irving may have shared it.
Why would Kyrie need to leak anything? In the last week, there was a bevy of reports that Brooklyn was ‘unwilling‘ to sign Irving to a long-term extension and that the team was concerned over his commitment, and more. So naturally, if you are Irving, you may want to correct some of the narrative.
“They (the media) were used to character assassinate Kyrie Irving at first,” Elhassan stated. “But what Kyrie has now done, or his camp has done by leaking, we suspect, to Shams Charania perhaps possible alternate plans that don’t involve the Brooklyn Nets. He’s now using the media, teaming up with the media to put pressure on the Brooklyn Nets.”
Jake Fischer on the Irving Tweet
Basketball Illuminati also had Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer on the podcast to give the perspective of someone who often breaks news like the Kyrie news himself. Fischer gave his thoughts from when he saw the tweet and sources he talked to on the possibility of this being a leak that benefits the All-Star point guard.
“Kyrie talks about people are pawns in the media, and him reacting to a report that would, in theory would benefit his side of the negotiations is very pawn of the media like. That was my reaction to the tweet.” Fischer shared on Basketball Illuminati.
Whether or not you believe that the news came from a leak, it certainly does benefit the Irving camp in negotiations. You truly can never count anything out in this NBA transactions season. Kyrie has until June 29 to opt-out of the final year of his contract and test free agency. Some still believe he will be back in Brooklyn next season, and how the next few weeks play out will be interesting to see.