ESPN host Stephen A. Smith had a blunt response to Kyrie Irving asking for less media coverage regarding his NBA future during a May 26 appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up” — telling the impending free agent point guard to quit if he doesn’t like basketball analysts talking about basketball.
“Respectfully, to Kyrie Irving, who doesn’t want us talking about him, don’t play basketball,” Smith said. “We talk about basketball. Nobody’s talking about his personal life. Nobody’s talking about the tweets from months ago. Nobody’s talking about all the things he’s gotten himself involved with. If you don’t want us to talk about you as a basketball player, quit, because we’re going to talk about you.”
Irving had gone on Instagram Live on May 24 to tell the masses not to listen to any free agent or sign-and-trade rumors involving the 31-year-old point guard.
“I’m a free agent this summer, but I am in no rush to make a decision,” Irving said. “When (the media) speak on my name and they’re talking about potential teams that I’m going to, can y’all please — I respectfully, I’m asking you — stop paying attention to that.”
It was reported back on February 4 by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Irving is looking for a four-year, $198 million deal in free agency from the team owning his bird rights. Irving was officially traded to the Mavericks two days later. Whether that remains to be the case after Dallas’ 11th-place finish in the Western Conference is unclear.
Kyrie Irving At Lakers Playoff Game Part of ‘Double Message’
Irving’s presence at Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals in Los Angeles was a “double message” to D’Angelo Russell that the Lakers planned on replacing him as the starting point guard in Tinseltown according to Jalen Rose during a May 24 appearance on ESPN’s NBA Today.
“You can’t bring back DLo,” Rose said. “I don’t care what number it is, what years it is because when you get benched in the close-out game while Kyrie Irving is sitting in front row, that’s a double message because how did he get his tickets? And so, based on that alone, at halftime of Game 3, everybody knew that D’Angelo Russell should be benched. He was like -53 on the floor, they were like +35 with him off the floor.”
While Rose doesn’t believe the message was sent as clearly to Russell from the franchise in Game 3, it was soundly understood in Game 4.
“When they didn’t bench him, to me, that was them saying to him ‘you know what, we’re not going to do that to you right now because we hope to sign you this offseason,'” Rose prefaced before saying, “When they benched him in Game 4, that let me know that they’re not gonna try to sign him.”
Mavericks Won’t Help Kyrie Irving in Sign-And-Trade
As Tim Cato of The Athletic reported in a piece published on May 26 (subscription required), the Mavericks have no intention in helping Irving find a new home via a sign-and-trade arrangement this offseason.
“It requires tact, but the Mavs should simply tell Irving upfront what contract they would like for him to re-sign, and while he certainly has the right to leave, they don’t plan to assist any other team in acquiring him,” Cato reported. “They have the most appealing offer.”
Cato’s report seemingly eliminates a capped-out team like the Suns or Clippers, and takes any Lakers scenario involving Anthony Davis coming back to Dallas off the table.