Nets superstar Kyrie Irving 'really selfish in a team-oriented sport,' says ex-NBA player


Earlier this week, when Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving exercised his $36 million player option for next season and bypassed on multiple sign-and-trade scenarios to honor his commitment to the team, his on-court partnership with Kevin Durant appeared safe for at least one more year. Well, so much for that. According to a report from NBA insider Shams Charania, Durant has requested a trade from the Nets, and now his future there is seriously in doubt.

Durant, who's arguably the best player in the NBA today, has a list of preferred destinations -- which reportedly includes the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat -- and it'd behoove all playoff contenders to learn what the Nets' asking price is. Of course, Brooklyn doesn't have to honor the veteran's wish list, and multiple reports are indicating that the team intends to move him for the best possible package. The sweepstakes winner will have Durant through 2026, and a trade would most likely mark the end to Irving's tenure. Yet another chaotic twist.

"We all know that when Kyrie puts basketball first, he's a top-five talent in the world. Just disappointing from a former player, media, and fans' perspective," former NBA player Matt Barnes told The Zach Gelb Show on Thursday. "At the end of the day, you respect everyone's decision -- whether it be the vaccine, or personal time off. But when it comes down to numbers, he needs to be on the court. Just disappointed. It's almost like he's taking his skill for granted...

"To me, personally, [Irving's image] is someone who's really selfish in a team-oriented sport. I don't know Kyrie, personally. We played against each other a handful of times. But, from the outside looking in, there's tremendous talent. So much God-given ability, a lot of hard work put into it -- and he kind of just doesn't really care. If you're playing an individual sport, that's okay... It looks like they're going to part ways with Kyrie, and no one blames them for that."

The entire NBA conversation between Barnes and Gelb can be accessed in the audio player above.

You can follow The Zach Gelb Show on Twitter @ZachGelb and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.