The Nets’ Kyrie Irving returned to his native New Jersey to play in his More Than A Run community event. His appearance sparked talk that his relationship with the Nets may be in a good place. For now, at least.
Irving hosted the event, which was held at Kean University in Union, N.J., on Thursday. It featured one-on-one contests and an all-star game. Multiple NBA players, including several of Irving’s Nets teammates, attended.
Irving himself suited up and played, to the delight of the home crowd. He displayed his famed ball-handling skills and fearless drives to the bucket.
— Overtime (@overtime) August 5, 2022
He even played the role of coach, talking to teammates about what he wanted to see from them during the game.
Kyrie Irving coaching up his squad at his “More Than A Run” game in his home state of New Jersey 🗣️
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) August 5, 2022
What was most interesting about the event was the appearance of Nets teammates Royce O’Neale, Kessler Edwards and David Duke, and the promotion of the event by the Nets on their official Instagram account.
Here’s a couple of screenshots from Nets official Instagram site. Net also posted videos of Irving at Kean. Something’s happening here, what it is ain’t exactly. pic.twitter.com/CtnefXL9b1
— NetsDaily (@NetsDaily) August 5, 2022
While the promotion would not be noteworthy by itself, it did help to dispel, in some way, talk of unrest between the star point guard and the franchise.
Irving exercised his $36.9 million player option in late June to remain in Brooklyn, but that hasn’t stopped trade speculation from dominating the offseason.
Nets general manager Sean Marks was non-committal initially about re-signing Irving, questioning his commitment to the team given the season the team and Irving had just endured.
“We need people here that want to be here. . . . We’re looking for guys that want to come in here and be something bigger than themselves, play selfless, play team basketball, and be available,” Marks said. “And that goes not only for Kyrie but for everybody here.”
According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers remain one of Irving’s top destination choices, either via trade this summer or in free agency in 2023.
It should be noted, though, that Irving has never officially requested a trade from the Nets.
As always, this situation is worth keeping an eye on.