The Brooklyn Nets are consulting with two of their best players in determining who will be their next head coach.
Nets GM Sean Marks says that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who were both signed last summer, are being consulted regarding the search.
“It would not be smart of us if we were not to involve some of these key players in this decision,” Marks said Friday on WFAN, via the New York Post’s Brian Lewis. “Kevin, Kyrie, we’re going to pick their brains on what they’re looking for in a leader, what they need. They’ve been brutally honest so far.”
Brooklyn fired Kenny Atkinson in early March, days before the NBA season went on hiatus. Jacque Vaughn has been installed as the team’s interim head coach and is being considered for the permanent gig.
The team consulting with Durant and Irving is no surprise. When you sign two big stars like Durant and Irving to your team, you’re going to build around them, and that includes getting a head coach that you hope works well them. Durant and Irving reportedly had some influence in the decision to get rid of Atkinson. As for Irving, he reportedly has made known his preference about who should get the job.
Kevin Durant did not play this season and will not participate in the resumed NBA season in Orlando next month because he is still recovering from a torn Achilles tendon suffered during last year’s NBA Finals. But Durant believes he probably would not have played in the restart even if he were healthy.
Durant was on “Dawg Talk” for an interview published on Thursday and shared his stance.
“I probably wouldn’t have played because the unknown going into that situation looks crazy right now, seeing so many new cases,” Durant said. “It’s just so unpredictable. It’s easy for me to say right now because I’m injured, but I probably wouldn’t have went down there (to Orlando).
“If the guys feel safe enough to go play, that’s cool, I’m with them. If they don’t feel like they should go down there and play or don’t feel safe, I’m with them too. I’m all about what the group wants.
“Obviously, I would have talked to my teammates and consulted with my guys and actually really went over it for the last month and a half, but me, my gut would have told me nah, I probably wouldn’t want to go down there, especially after three months off.”
Durant seemed to express two concerns in his response: coronavirus cases and the possibility of injury after an extended layoff. The latter was a concern shared by at least another prominent player. Durant was among the Brooklyn Nets players to test positive for the coronavirus in March. Another one of his Nets teammates, Kyrie Irving, expressed concerns with the restart and actually rallied against it.
Kyrie Irving appears to be playing the victim role to perfection.
Irving is out for the season due to shoulder surgery and will not be joining the Brooklyn Nets when the season resumes in Orlando next month.
Irving is an executive member of the National Basketball Players Association and team representative for the Nets. He voted in favor of the NBA’s plan to resume the season in Orlando, but a week later, he was working against the restart and rallying players to voice concerns. He was described as being two-faced in his behavior — saying one thing and then going behind peoples’ backs.
A report this week said Irving proposed the players start their own league rather than play for NBA owners. Irving reportedly left the Nets’ group chat after that report came out.
On Wednesday, Scoop B reported that Irving now “feels attacked” and scapegoated.
Kyrie Irving's conferece call last week was a vehicle for players to voice concerns about going to Orlando.
Irving feels attacked because what went from being a conversation amongst players has become personal and the Nets PG feels skapegoated. pic.twitter.com/ZsDxgABWHj
— Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson, M.A. (@ScoopB) June 17, 2020
This is rich.
The way things have been described, Irving has been a disturber and disruptor of the Orlando plan. He has power within the NBPA to voice concerns yet he voted in favor of the plan, but a week later he was working against it. He is putting the livelihoods of hundreds of his fellow players at stake with his actions and then cries later that he is being attacked and scapegoated? Maybe next time don’t go behind peoples’ backs and try to thwart an entire plan and people won’t be upset with you. He seems to be ignoring that there are consequences to extreme actions. Keep in mind, participating in the resumed season is completely optional for players.
Kyrie Irving has faced a lot of criticism for his ideas about canceling the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season, but few have been more animated in opposing Irving than Kendrick Perkins.
During an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up!” Wednesday morning, Perkins ripped Irving for being “confused” and showing poor leadership. Perkins also said it is ironic that Irving thinks continuing the NBA season would take attention away from social justice movements.
‘Kyrie Irving, right now you are the distraction’ – Kendrick Perkins pic.twitter.com/sVethSnYv8
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) June 17, 2020
“Kyrie Irving, right now you are the distraction. You’re distracting the whole situation,” Perkins said. “It’s crazy to me because you come out and do something separately, without talking to your (NBPA) president Chris Paul or consulting with Michele Roberts and go off and do something totally different and get a group of guys together and say, ‘Let’s sit out.’ It makes zero sense and I totally disagree with Kyrie Irving.”
Perkins also said he feels Irving is “confused” and doesn’t know what he wants.
Kendrick Perkins calls Kyrie Irving ‘confused’ and is showing a ‘lack of leadership’ pic.twitter.com/zAeMYl4KKo
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) June 17, 2020
Irving, of course, will not be playing again this season because of an injury. Perkins took to Twitter recently to question why Irving suddenly no longer wants there to be an NBA season when not that long ago he was trying to travel to Orlando to support his teammates. Former NBA player Matt Barnes said Tuesday that he was told Irving only wanted the season to be canceled after the NBA informed him he will not be allowed to join the Nets in Orlando.
The drama with Irving is building by the day. A report on Tuesday indicated that Irving, in a group chat with his Nets teammates, suggested the idea of starting a new basketball league. Some Brooklyn players dismissed the report as fake news, but Irving seemed furious that it leaked out.
Kyrie Irving had an averse reaction to a report emerging on Tuesday saying that he sought to start a new basketball league.
Earlier on Tuesday, New York Daily News reporter Stefan Bondy said that Irving, in a group chat with his Brooklyn Nets teammates, suggested the concept of starting a new basketball league.
Taylor Rooks says that Irving left the team’s group chat after the report came out.
Sources tell me that Kyrie Irving never stated that the Nets should begin their own league in response to the bubble.
I'm told that after that report came out, he left the group chat.
— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) June 17, 2020
Other Nets players have said the report is not true. Theo Pinson called it “fake news”.
This is FAKE news! Just stop! https://t.co/hm8pmkgM8v
— Theo pinson (@tpinsonn) June 17, 2020
Irving has been vocal in opposition to the NBA’s resumed season in Orlando and reportedly thinks this is the time for players to stand up against the system. Starting a separate league would definitely go against the existing system, but some Nets players seem to be saying Irving did not suggest that — at least not to them in a group chat. Matt Barnes has his own theory for why Irving wants the resumed season in Orlando cancelled.
Kyrie Irving has been opposed to NBA players participating in the resumed 2019-2020 season in Orlando, feeling like this was the time for major change.
Irving helped organize phone calls with his fellow players on Friday and Monday, according to reports. He said that he was willing to give up everything.
“I don’t support going into Orlando. I’m not with the systematic racism and the bulls—. Something smells a little fishy,” Irving reportedly said on Friday’s call.
It’s unclear how much support Irving’s movement has, but one player like LeBron James has not supported Irving’s plan, because the Los Angeles Lakers star believes he can make a difference and play in the NBA at the same time.
So what was Irving’s revolutionary plan?
According to the New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy, Irving proposed to players in a group chat with his Brooklyn Nets teammates that they start their own league.
In a recent chat group with Nets players, Kyrie Irving lobbied for skipping the bubble, the Daily News has learned. In that chat, he also proposed that the players can start their own league, according to a source. https://t.co/SqC0wcccPJ
— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) June 16, 2020
When Irving talked about the systematic problems, it seemed like his issue was black players playing for and enriching mostly white owners. That seems to be his belief, even though the NBA has over time began to have minority owners like Michael Jordan (Charlotte Hornets), Vivek Ranadive (Sacramento Kings) and Joseph Tsai (Nets).
The players have undeniable star power, followings, and are major attractions. Starting a completely new league though comes with numerous challenges that would be difficult for anyone to navigate. Look no further than the XFL and AAF for examples of how much risk and difficulty starting a new league entails.
Kyrie Irving has been leading a group of NBA players who question whether or not it is appropriate to resume the season, but the coronavirus outbreak and social injustice protests may not be the only reasons the Brooklyn Nets star has taken that stance.
Matt Barnes and his podcast co-host Stephen Jackson discussed Irving during an Instagram live chat on Monday night, and Barnes claimed to have inside information about Irving’s motive for wanting the remainder of the season canceled. Barnes said he was told Irving only decided he may “sit out” the remainder of the year after the NBA would not allow him to be with his teammates in Orlando.
Matt Barnes speaking the truth per usual. I highly suggest checking out the full IGTV post with Stak on Matts profile… pic.twitter.com/rjLz6qfQwc
— BasketballZack (@ZackbkHoops) June 15, 2020
“Kyrie needs to quit bulls—ing,” Barnes said, as transcribed by Andrew Holleran of The Spun. “Kyrie wanted to go to Orlando to support his team, they didn’t let him. So then he flipped the script, talking about I’m gonna give up everything. Bro, you can give up everything and go do the Maya Moore s— if you really want to. But at the same time, sitting out without a cause or a purpose defeats the purpose.”
Moore announced in February 2019 that she was taking a sabbatical from the WNBA to focus on criminal justice reform. That’s what Barnes was referencing in relation to Irving.
Irving is injured and was not going to play again this season regardless. According to Barnes’ source, Irving didn’t raise any concerns about the season resuming until he was told he would not be permitted to join the Nets in Orlando. However, Jackson says Irving is genuinely invested in fighting against social injustice.
Stephen Jackson says Kyrie Irving has been FaceTiming him almost everyday to check on him
“He called me crying, because he literally knows I’m putting everything on the line.” pic.twitter.com/vpX93qDqom
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) June 16, 2020
Irving has been called out by multiple prominent members of the NBA community over his stance. Not all players agree with him, either, as LeBron James reportedly feels he can make a positive impact in the community while still playing basketball.
Despite some concerns from players, it does not sound as though the resumption of the NBA season is in jeopardy.