Kyrie Irving challenges the Nets to let him test free agency. The bet could cost him Kevin Durant

Kyrie Irving waves, we react.

Luckily, we’re not the Brooklyn Nets, the franchise that couldn’t predict every circumstance for the past two years, but had to know something was about to happen.

Somehow they thought with Kevin Durant and the backdrop of his hometown of New York that Irving could be happy – or at least smother him with enough TLC to avoid this situation.

They defended him, made him excuses and when it comes to finally holding him accountable, he wants to take his ball and go home, or anywhere outside the Barclays Center.

One thing Irving has always gotten right, whether it’s the insane or the spectacular, he’s spellbinding. He attracts as much attention when entertaining as when performing stunts behind the scenes.

The latest, a problem his third eye apparently didn’t see coming, revolves around the Nets not wanting to give him a fully guaranteed maximum contract that will see him into his mid-30s. He threatens to take his part-time services elsewhere while wanting full-time awards.

Let’s see, a talented but injury-prone stitch-ish goalkeeper who at all times will refuse to show up for practices or games, leaving his coaches and teammates writhing in the wind, is upset that his current employer views him as unreliable?

Perhaps he was lulled into a false sense of security by all the public displays of support from Sean Marks, Steve Nash and Durant. But they soon learned what the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers had learned the hard way: Nothing made him happy.

It’s impossible.

Kyrie Irving will never be happy whether or not he gets his favorite Brooklyn Nets contract extension. (Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

Now, Irving wasn’t presented with the perfect situations in Cleveland, when he got there and even after LeBron James made his return to northeast Ohio. Irving wanted his voice to be the loudest, to matter the most – both in the locker room and to the general public.

But it never caught on, and that frustrated him, naturally.

Going to Boston and having to lead a group of youngsters wasn’t the ideal situation either, and although he initially promised the fan base that he would re-sign, he and Durant cooked up an idea to play together. – not entirely original considering the last decade or more.

He wasn’t equipped to lead, his intentions weren’t backed by effective methods, but in his fairest mind he probably thought the lessons learned along the way would help him in Brooklyn.

But the world went haywire and the NBA needed rules and structure to keep this train of money going.

Irving and structure don’t mix well, as he only seems to work in anarchy. He missed more games than he played for Brooklyn, and a single playoff participant won for his troubles.

Irving is guided by his own principles, whatever they are right now. Sometimes it can feel heartfelt, like reconnecting with a long-lost relative you have so much love for. In the next breath, he says and does something that reminds you why there was so much distance in the first place.

No situation is inherently unforgivable, although his refusal to get vaccinated caused a domino effect that ended in a four-game sweep at the hands of the once young Celtics.

Each micro-stair creates the macro-stair, and in the end, it’s not a stairway to NBA heaven.

Why is it always him? And still something that just keeps him from going out and executing his personal, God-given ability to play this game?

He’s easier to defend on the ground than off, and at his best between those four lines, he’s out of control. But that’s where the corner is that the Nets have purposely backed away from.

Irving’s talent always meant more to them than even other franchises given that they needed a foothold in the New York area and the league in general. Durant and Irving brought some color to a black-and-white franchise, and the Nets had to give them some leeway.

Irving colors outside the lines and tests the infrastructure that was still under construction. His influence was always positioned next to Durant as opposed to his own worth, the worth his talent demanded, but his resume never seemed to show.

He wanted all the spoils of being the franchise guy, but never put on the sweat equity needed, more say than show. Maybe his vulnerability earned him some grace in a few moments, but that doesn’t mean one is fit to lead.

Anarchy doesn’t make sense, and neither do wage demands.

If Irving was a player to raise all the tides, if he was the one whose mere presence inspired his teammates to play with him and for him, he wouldn’t just have the Brooklyn Nets as realistic contenders, but every team without an All -NBA. .

He’s not a loser, but one wonders how singularly he affects winning. It may be the perfect complement in the perfect situation, but those circumstances don’t arise except for seismic shifts in a landscape.

And the NBA’s tectonic plate has no room for another right now.

He’s untrustworthy on many levels, and deep down he knows it.

He challenges the Nets to let him test the free agent market, and the Nets know he doesn’t want to leave Durant.

If he were to leave, no franchise could absorb both Irving and Durant, so he would leave his friend with very little chance of reuniting. He wants to stay, but stays on his terms with the money and the perceived influence that comes with it.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets watch the final seconds of their 109-103 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center on April 23, 2022 in New York City.

Are Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving really ready to walk away from the Brooklyn Nets and each other? (Al Bello/Getty Images).

Irving probably has more influence in driving the conversation in the NBA than he practically does in the building he appears in from time to time. An incentive-laden contract goes against his sensibilities because, in the greatest show of self-awareness he could display, he knows he won’t be around all the time.

It will be something – a birthday, an anniversary, a full moon, an eclipse – that will keep him from showing up for work that day or that week.

Agreeing to a conditional deal wouldn’t set an unattractive precedent for the future, nor will this whole fiasco ripple through NBA players as a whole with the upcoming CBA talks.

Irving is one of them, in every possible way.

Saying Irving “means good” was always the fallback, as he was a young man trying to navigate his way through an environment that only had room for a lot of mercy.

At some point, however, it can’t be everyone’s fault, it can’t just be a matter of intentions or particular circumstances.

At some point, professionals have to be professionals.

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