Kyrie Irving is anticipating a return to basketball.
The Brooklyn Nets point guard said on Instagram that he “can’t wait to be back out there destroying people.”
Kyrie is ready to break some ankles pic.twitter.com/IJGhQMLXJr
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 6, 2020
The NBA season was suspended in March, but teams are beginning to open practice facilities next week as a step towards a possible return. Irving probably won’t be playing though even if the season resumes.
The 28-year-old point guard is recovering from shoulder surgery he underwent in early March. One doctor, speaking in generalities about shoulder impingement but not specific to Irving, said he felt the recovery could take six months.
The Nets should be good when next season begins since they are expecting to have Irving and Kevin Durant finally on the floor together.
Kevin Love is one of the last men standing in Cleveland from their 2016 title team, and he wishes their run of success would have lasted longer than it did.
In an interview this week with Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, the Cavaliers big man spoke on the years that he shared with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
“To even have just one more run at it, to see what we were capable of. Just one more run. I would’ve really loved to see that,” said Love. “I think we would’ve been primed for another really big run. Even if it was, for both of them, their last year in Cleveland. It would’ve been nice to see what we were capable of.”
After winning the championship in 2016, the Cavs made their way back to the Finals in 2017 with a record-setting offense. They lost in five games to the Golden State Warriors however, and Irving demanded (and received) a trade that offseason. James and Love then led a depleted Cavs team to yet another Finals berth in 2018, but they fell to the Warriors again, this time in a sweep. James then departed for the Los Angeles Lakers that summer.
Love’s comments are notable because he was often seen as a mismatched third wheel in that Big Three. With Cleveland now in the midst of a second straight sub-20-win season though, the All-Star big can fully appreciate how good the team used to have it back when his co-stars were still around.
Tom Thibodeau is going to be a hot name on the head coaching market whenever the NBA offseason begins, and the Brooklyn Nets are among the teams that are said to have interest in him. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will almost certainly have some say in the Nets’ hiring process, which could be good news for Thibodeau if he wants the job.
Both Durant and Irving like and respect Thibodeau, sources told Marc Berman of the New York Post. The two superstars worked with Thibodeau when he was an assistant coach with Team USA, and they are said to have favorable opinions of him from the time they spent together.
The Nets, as well as the Houston Rockets, have “strong interest” in Thibodeau, according to Berman. Brooklyn fired head coach Kenny Atkinson earlier this season, and there have been reports that Irving helped push him out the door.
At the very least, it sounds like Thibodeau is going to get a number of interviews for head coaching jobs heading into next season. He has not coached since being fired by the Minnesota Timberwolves in January of 2019, but he holds a career record of 352-246 (.589) with six playoff appearances in eight seasons. The New York Knicks are also said to have interest, and Thibodeau has a relationship with new Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose from when Rose was an agent with Creative Artists agency.
Irving supposedly has a specific head coach in mind for the Nets, but he’s not going to make the final hiring decision. Thibodeau may end up having his pick of two or three jobs if all goes well for him.
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One interesting consequence to the NBA season being postponed is that players who were rehabbing from injuries now have the possibility of returning.
Kevin Durant has been rehabbing from a torn Achilles tendon suffered during the NBA Finals last year. Kyrie Irving is rehabbing from arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder. With the season pushed back, both players theoretically could be medically cleared to play this year.
Despite the possible clearance, Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks tried to downplay the matter.
“I couldn’t even give an answer on when they’ll be able to play this season,” Marks told reporters on Wednesday, via the New York Post.
“I don’t think that’s fair to those athletes nor the performance team to put a timeline on it. Everyone is dealing with bigger items, far more pressing items.”
Marks also noted that even though the medical timelines now are in sync with the season, the inability of players to go to the team facility may have pushed things back.
Even if the players theoretically could return, we doubt it happens. Kevin Durant’s agent said a summer return was unrealistic.
The Brooklyn Nets ushered in a new era when they signed Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant over the summer, and they are going to end up with a new coach now too.
Kenny Atkinson and the Nets announced Saturday that they have mutually parted ways during what was Atkinson’s fourth season as the team’s head coach. A report said some Nets players wanted Atkinson fired. The coach acknowledged his voice was no longer as powerful as it once was.
Yahoo’s Vincent Goodwill wrote an article on Saturday saying as much. He says Irving “soured” on Atkinson early on and wants his former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach, Ty Lue, as the Nets’ next coach. Lue is currently an assistant with the Clippers.
What the Nets had built was attractive to Durant and Irving and played a big role in convincing them to sign with the team. But the culture of the team changed from young, unproven players to one with proven All-Stars when Durant and Irving joined, and it sounds like Irving was not buying into Atkinson’s ways. That helps explain why Atkinson would have been just as agreeable to leave since he felt powerless.
So far, we’ve seen Irving force a trade away from Cleveland; blow up the team chemistry in Boston; and now get a coach fired in Brooklyn. The Nets knew adding Irving was risky. Now it’s up to Kyrie and Durant to show next season that they were worth the investment.
Kyrie Irving’s season has already come to an end.
Irving will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder injury that caused him to miss 26 games earlier this season. The surgery will cause him to miss the final two months of the season.
When Irving initially returned from his shoulder injury, he received a cortisone injection rather than undergo surgery. But this time he will have the procedure. Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks says the team is thinking long-term with Irving’s health.
#Nets GM Sean Marks says they’re looking long term over the next two years, not two months, and that Kyrie Irving will be back in time for summer workouts.
— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) February 20, 2020
Irving averaged 27.4 points per game 20 games this season. He also missed time with a knee injury.
This is a rough year for the Nets, who spent big money over the offseason signing Irving and Kevin Durant. They’ll end up having paid $69 million to the two of them and getting just 20 games played in return. Wonder what Kendrick Perkins has to say now?
Kyrie Irving has been dealing with a shoulder injury for the majority of the season, and it is now expected to sideline the Brooklyn Nets star for a significant amount of time going forward.
Irving will likely undergo a procedure on his ailing right shoulder and miss an “extended period of time,” Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 20, 2020
Given the way the season has gone for Irving thus far, it would not be a shock if he ends up missing the remainder of the year. The 26-year-old has already missed 26 games this season due to the shoulder injury, which caused him to miss more time than expected.
Irving has averaged 27.4 points per game in the 20 contests in which he has played. He has also dealt with some other nagging injuries this year.