Kyrie Irving Appears to Take Shot at Former Nets Teammate After Blockbuster Trade

Kyrie Irving Dallas Mavericks

Getty Kyrie Irving #11 and Kevin Durant #7.

It’s been several weeks now since the Dallas Mavericks traded for Kyrie Irving in a shock move before the trade deadline. But the more time that goes on, the more we learn about Irving’s true feelings about his time with the Brooklyn Nets.

During the media portion of this year’s All-Star Game, for example, Irving went on the record to address “load management” in the league, a term used to describe when a player is rested despite being otherwise healthy in the hopes of preserving them for the playoffs.

“I don’t know who started the narrative, but it’s completely run amok,” Irving said of load management. “I think it’s dehumanized some of us in terms of just the way we prepare ourselves day to day. This is a 24/7 job.”

After making the statement, some suggested Irving was taking a shot at his former Nets teammate Ben Simmons.

Simmons has been inactive or did not dress for several of Brooklyn’s games so far this season. In the past, he’s demurred on the subject of load management, instead preferring Nets coaches to take up the issue with the media.

Irving Speaks Up About Trade Demands

Load management wasn’t the only topic of conversation Irving faced from the press on Saturday. The former Cavaliers champion also expressed his support for trade demands by players in the NBA.

“It’s a bad situation,” Irving told the press. “Why doesn’t anyone have the ability to ask for trades? That’s my question. When did it become terrible to make great business decisions for yourself and your happiness and peace of mind?”

Irving finished his explanation with an employees-first defense of trade demands:

“Not every employer you’re going to get along with, so if you have the chance to go somewhere else and you’re doing it legally, I don’t think there’s a problem with it.”

Irving notably came to the Mavericks by way of a shock trade demand just a week before the deadline. And his Nets teammate Kevin Durant also asked out this summer before eventually reconciling with the front office.

Nonetheless, Durant was shipped to the Phoenix Suns at the deadline, putting an official end to the Irving-Durant partnership in New York.

Durant Explains Devastating Loss of Kyrie After Nets Trade

Speaking of Durant, he went on the record recently to explain what it was like knowing Irving was headed for a new team before the deadline.

“It was a blow to our team,” Durant explained last week. “It just took away our identity. He was a huge, huge part to what we do. His game — he’s a Hall of Fame player, a great, great player that can do everything on the floor, and we relied on that. So without him, we didn’t have a clear identity. So that was tough for me to stomach.”

Prior to the roster blowup, the Nets appeared on a crash course with the playoffs.

Durant was playing MVP basketball and Irving was named an MVP starter, with the Nets competing with the likes of the Celtics, Bucks, and Sixers for the top of the Eastern Conference.


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