We have plenty of ways to show the Brooklyn Nets’ season did not go according to plan this year — chief among them they are currently sitting at home despite employing Kevin Durant — but an assistant coach using ESPN to announce he is quitting then calling out Kyrie Irving is quite illustrative.
Former NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire spent the last two seasons as an assistant on former teammate Steve Nash’s coaching staff. During a series of appearances on ESPN on Thursday, he revealed he would not be returning to Brooklyn after a second straight disappointing playoff exit.
And then Stoudemire started talking all things Kyrie Irving.
In a discussion with Stephen A. Smith on “First Take,” Stoudemire openly conceded that Irving missing much of the season due to his refusal to get vaccinated hurt the Nets’ ability to form a functioning team:
“Yeah, I think it hurt us. It definitely hurt us because we didn’t have the consistency with Kyrie enough to build chemistry for the group with the team. He plays only on away games depending on which city it is, can’t play in New York, therefore you have different lineups and different matchups depending on the game schedule.
“So it made it difficult for us coaches to figure out who’s going to play in spite of Kyrie. The chemistry is not where we would like it to be, so it was difficult for us to manage that. So yeah, it was definitely part of that.”
Irving’s status in Brooklyn has been an active topic of discussion since the Nets were eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the first round.
The team had plenty of issues — age, coaching and a lack of Ben Simmons among them — but general manager Sean Marks pointedly said the team needed players who are “available” in a post-series new conference. Stoudemire apparently agrees, and it’s hard to imagine he’s alone in the Nets organization.
Courtesy: Yahoo Sports