He who has the gold, or in this case, the ability to dribble past his way through a cluttered paint, makes all the rules.
By conventional wisdom, Kyrie Irving is a poor employee. He wants all of the authority to make key decisions, but he also takes little of the day to day responsibility to make sure the organization operates at optimum efficiency. While the Nets’ other best player is rehabbing an injury for a season, he said that the team needed more pieces — 40 games into the season, 36 in which he did not play. That goes into another problem, Irving can’t be depended upon to come to work. Whether it’s the time he took off for personal reasons in 2021, him not doing what was medically required of him to be able to legally work in the city in which he is employed, or simply that his body doesn’t hold up and he has to miss time due to injury.
The Brooklyn Nets have reportedly been hesitant to commit to this undependable employee, long-term. Irving can opt into the last year of his contract and earn $36.9 million. He of course would rather work out what might possibly be the final massive contract extension of his NBA career. If an agreement cannot be reached, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Irving wants to be traded, but he has a list of the teams on which he wants to play. Those teams are the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, and the Philadelphia 76ers.
No player of Irving’s caliber would be willing to be traded to any of the other 29 NBA teams, but it’s still quite a bit of gall on his part to have so many demands when he chose not to play in 53 games last season because of his refusal to take the COVID vaccine. The Nets wouldn’t be so obligated to deal with Irving, except for the fact that whatever happens with him will have an affect on Durant’s future. The Athletic’s’ Shams Charania reported that Durant is monitoring the Nets and “considering options with his future dele.”
What makes this situation even more interesting is that Irving doesn’t appear to have his future tethered to Durant. They both went to the Nets to play alongside each other and hold significant weight in the organization’s decision making. With the list of teams that Irving is interested in — the rumor mill had already been swirling about the Lakers and Knicks — only the Knicks and maybe the Heat would be able to swing a deal to bring in both players.
Another moment for a lesson for the children. For most of them, accountability will be the most important trait for them in the workforce. Employers want to be assured that the people they hire can be depended upon to show up, and do perform the task they were hired to do on a daily basis. That is the bare minimum required to hold onto a job — unless you bring something else more important to the table.
Irving is pushing that to the limit in, of all fields, sports. In sports is where coaches pound into people of all ages that the most important ability is availability, and the next most important is to know your role and execute it. Irving is not nearly as bad as a former president being twice charged with trying to undermine democracy. However, Irving has been available, and when he has been supposed to lead he has not.
Yet, that former president never went to jail and might return to the job, and Irving is going to call his shot over where his basketball future will take him in the next few weeks, and it’s going to net him about as good of a salary as you can make in the NBA.
For most of you children, you had better show up to work on time and do what your position requires. For some of you blessed with talent, connections, and/or excellent manipulative skills that’s going to get you much further in life, because then you make the rules instead of following them.