How Kyrie Irving Made Himself Expendable

Dean Riley - 20 Oct 2021

It’s sad but unfortunately true: Kyrie Irving can’t blame anybody but himself for running the risk of expendability.

With the Brooklyn Nets point guard still unvaccinated, and likely to remain so, NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski this week painted a lamentable picture. According to Wojnarowski, Irving became expendable long before the vaccination drama. It happened right after the James Harden trade, revealed the insider via a recent podcast. 

What James Harden’s trade did was to create a valuable “Big 3” consisting of Irving, Harden, and Kevin Durant. Valued at a crazy $236 million, the team would have been focused exclusively on creating the best possible shot at a championship. And they weren’t afraid at throwing money at the problem. Oodles of it.

At least not back then.

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Irving Probably Had It Wrong

But what Irving probably would have missed was that the James Harden trade was just as much about securing Durant’s future as anything else. Back then already, so reckons Wojnarowski, the Nets will have recognised something about Irving. Something not altogether good.

In fact, the whole point of Durant being part of the deal had been a prior recognition that perhaps, Irving couldn’t be counted on, after all. And the powers that be more than realised the fact early on. This made of Harden a necessary acquisition for securing Durant’s future.

But the very same decision also made Irving instantly expendable – if he so choose. And now, it seems, he’s made precisely that choice.

All of this obviously also means that Brooklyn may be even more prepared to continue their season without Irving that what they’ve more recently been letting on.

Possible Trade Option

What Brooklyn’s un-reliance on Irving has now opened is a new can of possible trade worms.

Still, possible trade opportunities involving Irving appear dodgy, to say the least, pointed out Wojnarowski. With Irving’s ongoing stance on vaccination, the word remains out whether or not he even wants to play at all – let alone for any specific team.

Irving has basically got everything he ever asked for. First it was to play for Brooklyn, his childhood team, then it was a pining after Kevin Durant – all of which really does raise several questions about whether he’s actually ever wanted to play at all.

A potential solution would of course be to kill two birds with one stone – Irving’s refusal to vaccinate and Ben Simmons’ saga with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Still, before the call hasn’t been officially made, the ball remains up in the air for both “players”.

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