According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, the Cleveland point guard shunned his teammates at practice for days at a time during the first and second rounds of the playoffs last season.
— ESPN (@espn) August 10, 2017
Kyrie Irving has earned a bit of reputation as a loner at times, and as a player who can go through reclusive moods. Well, Dave McMenamin said on the BBall Breakdown podcast that this went even further during the 2017 Playoffs.
“I’m not sure. Phoenix, of course, hired James Jones this offseason. He’s been inside that locker room.
He saw Kyrie Irving in the playoffs this year—in between the first round when they beat Indiana and the second round when they played Toronto—go consecutive days without speaking to a teammate at practice. On that stage.
It’s one thing for people to go through your ups and downs during the regular season. But when you get to the playoffs, the main thing is the main thing, and we’re brothers, and we’re pulling together to get this thing done.
Even at that level, there were things that made him sullen or reclusive from his teammates.”
The more you hear about Irving’s general demeanor, the more his trade request is easier to understand. It’s certainly possible that Dan Gilbert’s meddling, David Griffin’s firing and LeBron James’ impending free agency could be pushing Irving to make a trade request, but sometimes, I think we forget that there’s a chaotic human element that factors into how players make decisions.
It’s not simply a math equation that gets plugged into a video game. Irving is clearly a unique, interesting person who we don’t really know. As a result, we can’t really know the calculus that led to his decision making.
On the personnel end of things, McMenamin didn’t paint a particularly flattering picture of Irving for new Suns VP James Jones. If Jones is hesitant to part with much for Irving, it could be a major issue for the Cavaliers in procuring value for their star point guard.
Jones knows Irving better than any other executive in the league. We’ll see how highly he thinks of Irving over this process.
(h/t Carter Rodriguez of FearTheSword)