Kyrie Irving’s absence from the Nets ‘has been difficult for us to deal with,’ says former assistant coach


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Former Brooklyn Nets coach Amar’e Stoudemire had a few parting shots for Kyrie Irving while revealing he was no longer on Steve Nash’s coaching staff.

Stoudemire appeared Thursday on ESPN’s “First Take” and detailed how much Irving’s absence has hurt the Nets. Irving refused to get a coronavirus shot and was ruled out by the organization at the start of the season. He returned to play away games before New York gave up his tenure.

“I think it hurt us. It definitely hurt us because we didn’t have enough consistency with Kyrie to build chemistry with the band, with the team,” Stoudemire said, via Nets Daily. “He only plays away games depending on the city he’s in…can’t play in New York…so we had different line-ups, different matchups depending on the game schedule. So it was difficult for us coaches to determine who is going to play despite Kyrie. So it was difficult for us to deal with that. So yeah, that was part of that.”

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Brooklyn Nets player development assistant Amar’e Stoudemire during a game against the Sacramento Kings at Barclays Center on February 14, 2022 in New York City.
(Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Stoudemire also appeared on ESPN’s “Get Up” and called on Nets general manager Sean Marks to get assurances from Irving for the 2022-23 season should the guard decide to take his 36-player option. $5 million.

He said a meeting between Marks and the team’s two superstars – Irving and Kevin Durant – was to take place.

“But I think with Kevin and Ky he will have a real discussion. Because Ky, since he came to the Nets, has missed more games than he has played. So I think you have a conversation: two of your star players sit in a room and say, “Kyrie, what’s your goal? Do you want to be the best player in the game? Do you want to accomplish more in this league? What are your goals for the future?”

“And if both understand that ‘Hey, we want to make this stuff special here, want to win a championship’ and he’s committed to playing in these games, then I think you bring him back.”

Kyrie Irving (11) talks to Kevin Durant (7) of the Brooklyn Nets during Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs First Round on April 25, 2022, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Kyrie Irving (11) talks to Kevin Durant (7) of the Brooklyn Nets during Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs First Round on April 25, 2022, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
(Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Stoudemire said any deal should be done by contract.

“You can say you’re available and ready to play next season, but are you actually going to do that or are you going to give that up and not play,” Stoudemire said. “And if so, you’d have this situation where he says he’s going to be available, but he’s not (playing). Now what do we do? So now you have to negotiate that in the contract, in the writing, try to find a way to have the writing in the contract where, if he doesn’t play, these things happen.”

Irving played 29 games for Brooklyn after all the dust had settled. He averaged 27.4 points and 5.8 assists per game. Brooklyn was swept in the first round of the playoffs.

Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets heads for the basket in game four of an Eastern Conference First Round playoff game against the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center on April 25, 2022 in Brooklyn.

Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets heads for the basket in game four of an Eastern Conference First Round playoff game against the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center on April 25, 2022 in Brooklyn.
(Elsa/Getty Images)

It’s unclear if Irving will be back with the Nets at this point. He said at his end-of-season press conference that he wanted to return.

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“I don’t plan on going anywhere. It’s extra motivation for our franchise to be at the top of the league in the next few years. When I say I’m here with Kev, I think that really implies that we let’s run this franchise together. alongside [owner] Jo [Tsai] and Sean [Marks]and our group of family members that we have in our organization,” Irving said, via FOX Sports. “I think we need to take a few steps this offseason and be really intentional about what we build and really worry about ourselves. . “


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