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#pounditSaturday, August 8, 2020

Articles tagged: Kyrie Irving

Kevin Durant defends Kyrie Irving for speaking the ‘raw truth’

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant is backing his friend and teammate Kyrie Irving against criticism.

Durant appeared on the “Play for Keeps” podcast and defending Irving, who is frequently the subject of stories for things he says and does. Durant says that happens because Irving tells the “raw truth”.

“The truth can hurt a lot of people. When you tell the raw truth, especially in this society, it’s frowned upon. And Kyrie just tells it how it is,” Durant said on the podcast, via the New York Daily News. “There’s no sugar-coating it. If he walks into the gym one day and says, ‘I don’t like how this is going.’ It’s probably not going well. But he just doesn’t mind voicing it.”

Durant also says that the media used Irving for clicks when it came to the objections to the NBA restart in Orlando.

“In this situation with the NBPA, he wasn’t the only one who had problems with what was going with the NBPA. Everybody had concerns,” Durant said. “But obviously he’s Kyrie the biggest one. That’s going to sell papers especially at this time during the pandemic, nobody is getting paid. So if you have an opportunity to get some clicks, it’s easy to use Kyrie.”

Durant may say that, and perhaps there was some sensationalism going on, but Durant omits that Irving’s idea was also the most extreme. Irving reportedly was talking about starting a different league separate from the NBA. That’s why he got so much attention.

Of course, the players signed together to join the Brooklyn Nets last year, so it’s no surprise that Durant would have Irving’s back. Neither player is participating in the restart due to injuries. That was said to be a factor in Irving’s reported rebellious plan.

Kyrie Irving launches fund to support WNBA players who sit out season

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving has launched a fund to support WNBA players who choose to sit out the season.

Irving committed $1.5 million toward the fund, which is meant to supplement the income of players who do not play during the season for any reason, be it COVID-19 concerns or social justice reasons. The top annual WNBA salary is slightly more than $200,000.

Players who are interested in the fund are asked to submit details about why they decided not to play. A medical opt-out must be related to COVID-19 concerns, and players cannot receive money if they are receiving a salary from an organization or entity other than the WNBA as well.

“Whether a person decided to fight for social justice, play basketball, focus on physical or mental health, or simply connect with their families, this initiative can hopefully support their priorities and decisions,” Irving said in a statement provided to Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press.

Irving has been one of the most outspoken players in basketball about social justice and his willingness to sit out games because of it.

Report: Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters ‘always disliked each other’

Dion Waiters Cavs

Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters used to be teammates together on the Cleveland Cavaliers, and they did not have a good history together. In fact, one report says the two “always disliked each other.”

The Athletic published a story on Saturday that explores the odd circumstances through which Waiters, J.R. Smith, and LeBron James all find themselves as teammates on the Los Angeles Lakers.

James and Waiters were teammates on the Cleveland Cavaliers for part of a season during LeBron’s return to Cleveland in 2014, but Waiters was traded during that season, and Smith was acquired as part of the deal. Now they’re all on the Lakers for the restart in Orlando.

In the article, which is worth your time, the reporters say that Waiters and Irving “always disliked each other.”

The Cavaliers made Irving the No. 1 pick in 2011 and Waiters the No. 4 overall pick in 2012. The evidence of the issues between Irving and Waiters came out as early as 2013, when Waiters reportedly called out Irving and Tristan Thompson in a team meeting and reportedly sought a trade. Former Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon even said in 2014 that Irving and Waiters clashed.

The issue is that Waiters is a confident guy who loves to shoot and believes he is better than almost anyone. He reportedly believed he was better than Irving and didn’t understand the organization favoring Kyrie.

Waiters started to have issues with his role on the Cavs, which was him coming off the bench because James did not like how he was a ballhog. He ended up being traded in January 2015. Two and a half years later, Irving forced his way out of Cleveland. LeBron left the year after Irving forced a trade to Boston.

Now, after just three games with Miami this year and a bunch of suspensions, Waiters will be trying to win a championship alongside James on the Lakers.

Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving involved in Nets’ head coach search

Kevin Durant

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 does not think he would have participated in NBA restart even if healthy

Kevin Durant

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.

Report: Kyrie Irving now feels attacked, scapegoated

Kyrie Irving

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.

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.

Kendrick Perkins unloads on Kyrie Irving: ‘You are the distraction’

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. 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.

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.