NBA superstar Kyrie Irving has requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets.
Alongside teammate Kevin Durant, Irving was named an NBA All-Star starter for the game in Salt Lake City later this month due to his impressie performances throughout the 2022/23 season. The 30-year-old is averaging 27.1 points per game to go with 5.3 assists during a fairly efficient season to help the 31-20 Nets sit fourth in the Eastern Conference.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Irving has officially requested a trade from the Nets. The franchise has been informed that Irving prefers to move on ahead of the trade deadline next Thursday or will walk away in free agency in July.
Irving has also been embroiled in controversy during his time in Brooklyn. Back in November, the eight-time All-Star was suspended by the Nets for five games without pay after he failed to apologise for sharing a link to an antisemitic film on social media.
In order to return to the court, Irving was asked to work through six steps as Brooklyn asked him to apologise and make a donation of $500,000 to anti-hate causes. Irving was also asked to complete sensitivity and antisemitic training, while the Nets requested him to meet with the Anti-Defamation League, local Jewish community leaders and finally with owner Joe Tsai.
Back in October 2020, Irving oddly declared that the Nets did not have a true head coach in terms of leading the team - despite Steve Nash hired to fulfil that exact role. Speaking on ‘The ETCs Podcast with Kevin Durant’, Irving said: “I don't really see us having a ’head’ coach. KD could be a head coach, I could be a head coach [some days].”
Last season, Irving was ineligible to play or practice with the team due to his stance against the Covid vaccine amid the the New York City mandate. He committed to the franchise ahead of the 2022/23 season as he opted into his player option before his suspension.
Ultimately, Irving arrived in Brooklyn alongside Durant amid plenty of fanfare - and the duo have delivered just one playoff series win during their time together on the east coast. It remains to be seen what kind of package a team could pull together to secure Irving's services, but it could be cheaper than his talent deserves due to the seemingly unavoidable drama and baggage that comes with him.
The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be in the mix to land Irving as the iconic franchise attempt to take advantage of LeBron James' exceptional form. The Lakers fanbase - along with James - desperately want to see some moves made by the front office in order to improve the team and try to maximise their superstar’s form in his twilight years.
To facilitate a trade, the Lakers would need to send a star to Brooklyn with many suggesting it could be Russell Westbrook, despite his improved play this season. Westbrook’s enormous $47.1 million contract expires at the end of the season too, so he could prove to be more attractive to the Nets while the former MVP could reunite with Durant after the duo had success as teammates on the Oklahoma City Thunder.