Shortly after Kyrie Irving reportedly requested a trade from the Nets on Friday, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was not thrilled about the decision made by the eight-time All-Star.
“Idiotic,” Smith told ESPN’s Malika Andrews on NBA Today.
Irving, who is in his fourth season with the Nets, requested to be moved by the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 9, according to The Athletic’s Sham Charania. If Irving is not traded, he will not re-sign with Brooklyn when he enters free agency following the 2022-23 season.
Further into Smith’s remarks to Andrews, the ESPN analyst said Irving has received most of his salary but has only played in half of Brooklyn’s games. Last season Irving missed significant time due to being unvaccinated against COVID-19. Smith also discussed the guard’s “eight-game suspension” from the team earlier this season after he promoted an antisemitic film and book on social media, and his failure to offer an initial apology for his behavior.
But, even with Irving resurrecting himself from those comments and the suspension, Smith said Irving’s latest decision was a reminder that he is “spectacular” on the hardwood but “cannot be trusted.”
“He just reminded the basketball world of that,” Smith added.
Irving’s trade request comes as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the guard and Brooklyn are not close to reaching an agreement. However, according to Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes, Irving would cooperate and finish out his current contract, which is set to expire in the offseason.
In 2021, the Nets reportedly offered Irving an extension along with Kevin Durant and James Harden. Durant, however, was the only one of the three to accept at the time.
Since then, the Nets traded Harden to the Sixers and Durant briefly requested a trade in June before taking back his demand in August.