The preseason game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets went on as scheduled in China on Thursday, and Kyrie Irving may end up wishing it hadn’t.
Irving left the game after he appeared to re-aggravate a face injury he suffered during the offseason. He was hit in the face while playing tight defense on Rajon Rondo, and he was seen tossing his protective face mask down in frustration and cursing shortly before being ruled out for the remainder of the game.
Kyrie took a shot to the face while wearing protective mask, leaves game and looks in pain on the bench pic.twitter.com/R5mlUpG778
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) October 10, 2019
Irving suffered a facial fracture when he took an elbow to the face in a pickup game prior to training camp. The Nets were obviously comfortable with the way he was recovering if they allowed him to play in a meaningless exhibition game, but it remains to be seen if Irving suffered a setback.
Expect Brooklyn to play it safe with the star point guard going forward.
- Kyrie Irving
Kevin Durant may have gotten some bad advice and given into external pressure when he decided to play in the NBA Finals last year, but Kyrie Irving says he will not allow that to happen again with the Brooklyn Nets.
Irving told reporters on Friday that it is obvious Durant wasn’t ready to return from his calf injury in the Finals, which led to a torn Achilles. Kyrie says he is going to hold himself personally responsible for making sure Durant is “101 percent ready” before he takes the court with the Nets.
Kyrie Irving says "a lot of people" are responsible for Kevin Durant tearing his Achilles:
"We all know K was not ready to play in that environment…we put him on a national stage to end up selling a product to came before the person" pic.twitter.com/usyACYCufW
— SNY (@SNYtv) September 27, 2019
“We all know (Durant) was not ready to play in that environment,” Irving said. “We all know that, whether people want to admit it or not. He was out 31 days and we put him on a national stage in the Finals to end up selling a product that came before the person, Kevin.
“I’m here to protect that. I’m going to be a protector of that all throughout the year in not allowing anyone to infiltrate that circle of, ‘Hey, (Kevin), do you. Get right. We’ll be fine.’ We have expectations for our team and obviously know he’s an integral part, but we’ll wait for that. I’ll be over-patient with Kevin.”
That may sound egotistical of Irving to say, but it’s worth noting that Durant referred to him once again as his “best friend” on Friday. Durant obviously cares a great deal about Kyrie’s opinion, so perhaps it will help to have a teammate who urges patience. There were rumblings earlier in the week that Durant may return earlier than expected from his Achilles injury, but the Nets say they do not plan on him playing this season.
Some comments Durant made publicly indicate he does not blame the Golden State Warriors for what happened to him, but his “best friend” Irving feels differently. It’s fair to assume what Durant has said about the situation privately probably does not match with what he said in public.
The Brooklyn Nets are already dealing with a minor injury three days before the start of training camp.
Kyrie Irving, who took an elbow to the face during a pickup basketball game on Tuesday, is day-to-day with a left side facial fracture, as confirmed by the team and first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic.
UPDATE: Kyrie Irving has been diagnosed with a left side facial fracture, which he sustained yesterday during workouts. He is currently listed as day to day.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) September 25, 2019
Irving took an errant elbow during a casual pickup game and could now miss some time. It’s not the start to the season the Nets were hoping for at all, even if it turns out to be a brief absence. Facial fractures are no minor thing, and it’s an open question as to how he’ll progress and whether he may need to be fitted for a mask.
There’s little evidence that he won’t be ready for the start of the regular season, though. That’s good news, because he can help troll the Knicks a little on his giveaway night.
- Kyrie Irving
The Brooklyn Nets appear to be stoking the flames of their crosstown rivalry with the New York Knicks.
Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported on Saturday that the Nets will be giving away 10,000 Kyrie Irving jerseys when they host the Knicks on Oct. 25, the first meeting of the season between the two teams.
The All-NBA guard Irving, who signed a four-year deal with the Nets in July, had been a top target for the Knicks, both as a free agent and even dating back to when he requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017.
The Nets-Knicks rivalry has definitely been gaining steam in recent months, and it’s hard to see the timing of this giveaway as a case of mere coincidence.
Carmelo Anthony wants to play basketball next season and is committed to showing teams he still has something to offer. One of the potential suitors that could make sense for him is the Brooklyn Nets, and their two most important players are apparently on board with signing the 10-time All-Star.
Frank Isola of The Athletic reports that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have been “pushing” the Nets to sign Anthony. Carmelo recently trained with a group of Nets players in Los Angeles, and general manager Sean Marks got a closer look at him during an informal workout. It’s unclear if Marks wants to sign Anthony, but there are a few reasons he could be persuaded.
For starters, Durant is not going to play at all in his first season in Brooklyn. That opens up a spot on the roster for another scorer, and the 35-year-old Anthony is confident he can still find ways to put the ball in the hoop. Another thing working in Carmelo’s favor is that the NBA announced on Thursday that Nets forward Wilson Chandler has been suspended 25 games for testing positive for a banned substance.
Anthony’s recent workouts in LA are said to have gone well, as one Nets source told Isola that he “certainly helped his cause” and “his body looked great.”
While Marks will have the final say with regard to Anthony, having an endorsement from both Irving and Durant is obviously significant. Carmelo insists he is still playing at a high enough level to contribute and recently accused the Rockets of cutting ties with him for non-basketball reasons. He’s also a Brooklyn native, so the Nets may be his best chance at a last chance.
Enes Kanter was formally introduced as a member of the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, and he immediately endeared himself to the fan base with a hilarious zinger he took at Kyrie Irving.
While speaking with reporters during his introductory press conference, Kanter was asked why he chose to wear jersey No. 11 with the Celtics. He said that is his old jersey number, plus he wants to be the reason no one else will ever wear it in Boston.
Enes Kanter on why he chose #11 pic.twitter.com/Nfp1kGY6Aj
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) July 17, 2019
As you probably know, Irving said the same thing in his introductory presser with the Celtics. He then spent two seasons with the team and managed to rub a whole bunch of people the wrong way before bolting in free agency.
Kanter may not improve Boston’s interior defense, but perhaps he can make up for his defensive inefficiencies with a great sense of humor and more shots at Irving. Celtics fans would love that.
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Kyrie Irving is no longer a Boston Celtic, and one of his former teammates seems to be enjoying that fact.
New Celtics big man Enes Kanter posted a picture to Instagram on Friday of several of the team’s fans clowning their former guard by taking Irving’s old jersey and covering his name with a piece of tape that read “Kanter” instead. Celtics wing Jaylen Brown then proceeded to ‘like’ Kanter’s post.
Enes Kanter posted a picture of Celtics fans covering the Irving on Kyrie's jersey with Kanter and Jaylen Brown liked the picture pic.twitter.com/nAZUwTBdtA
— Heart of NBA (@HeartofNBA) July 13, 2019
While this merely could have been a case of Brown being amused by the antics of Boston’s fans, he and Irving did not exactly have the greatest relationship during their two seasons together. For one, Brown called out Uncle Drew for finger-pointing during their struggles in January and also had to sacrifice the shot attempts that opened up when Irving was injured in the 2018 postseason.
With the six-time All-Star signing with the Atlantic Division rival Brooklyn Nets this summer, you can bet that both sides are going to be circling their first matchup on the calendar next season.