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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Report: Nets already concerned about Kyrie Irving’s mood swings

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving may be a lot happier with the Brooklyn Nets than he was with the Boston Celtics over the past two seasons, but apparently his new team has already witnessed some of the personality traits that can make Irving a difficult superstar to manage.

In a lengthy feature about the Nets and the bond between their new trio of Irving, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan, ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan reported that there were times during the offseason when Brooklyn’s brass was concerned about Irving’s “infamous mood swings.” Like many NBA superstars, Irving prefers to do things his own way. However, he seems even more stubborn than some of his counterparts, which Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge certainly came to understand.

The Nets are big on gathering performance-based data from their players, and that entails having them stick to a training routine that head coach Kenny Atkinson admits can be “a bit rigid.” According to MacMullan, the Nets held their annual two-day minicamp with players over the summer that involved gathering biometric data through wearables, and Irving refused to participate. Members of the organization tried to kindly encourage him to take part, noting that the camp is designed to build team chemistry, among other things.

Irving wasn’t having any of it, and MacMullan’s source said things got a bit awkward when he sternly said, “I’m not doing it.” For what it’s worth, Durant and Jordan were also said to be a bit skeptical of Brooklyn’s daily routine, and Atkinson acknowledged that star players have a very specific training regimen that has worked for them.

“Look,” Atkinson says. “These guys have won championships. They come from darn good pedigrees, and we’ve thrown some things at them that they’ve said, ‘Hell no!'”

For Irving, however, it’s not just about the different approach in training. MacMullan was told that Irving often goes into “funks” where he becomes unwilling to communicate with the coaching staff and front office, and one such instance took place while the team was in China. Teams officials were left puzzled, and the mood swings are said to be an “unspoken concern” for them.

On a separate occasion in China, Irving refused to remove his hat for a team photoshoot at the Pearl TV Tower. He reportedly said the team should photoshop the hat out if they don’t want him to be shown wearing it.

The Nets obviously knew what they were getting into when they signed Irving. While the team has lost two of its first three games, Irving is averaging a whopping 37.7 points and dropped 50 on opening night. His talent is undeniable, but this is certainly not the first we have heard of him being difficult to manage or play alongside.

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