Heat not pursuing Kyrie Irving

Feb 4, 2023 - 3:21 PM
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Less than a week before the Feb. 9 trade deadline, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Kyrie Irving has requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets by the deadline.

Later that day, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported that there is no “aggressive ongoing Heat pursuit” of the 2016 NBA champion. He said that it can’t be ruled out but said “others appear more motivated at this time.”

Some Miami Heat fans have expressed interest in trading for Irving, seeing him as someone who could supercharge a Heat offense that looks too anemic in the 2023 NBA. They also welcome a trade that would presumably result in Kyle Lowry heading out. As I wrote last week, Erik Spoelstra has recently benched Lowry in fourth quarters. And in Thursday’s 106-104 loss to the New York Knicks, Lowry again did not play in the fourth quarter.

Other Heat fans point to the string of controversies that have followed Irving over the last several years. Several reports indicated that Irving’s status as a part-time player for much of the 2021-22 season due to his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19 drove James Harden to demand a trade. (Harden said Irving’s status had a “very minimal” role in his decision to seek a trade.)

In October 2022, Irving posted a link to an antisemitic film on Twitter and declined to apologize for the post. Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski reported in November that Irving “never returned a single” text message from Nets owner Joe Tsai over a weeklong period. The Nets suspended Irving for eight games in November; he returned after apologizing.

Still others point to the bridges Irving burned at his two previous organizations, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics. Back in 2017, Irving’s trade demand from the Cavaliers “blindsided and disappointed” LeBron James. (Yesterday’s news apparently surprised Durant.)

Irving also announced his desire to re-sign with the Celtics in October 2018. During that ensuing disappointing Boston season, Irving reportedly butted heads with Jaylen Brown. He then joined the Brooklyn Nets the following summer.

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