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ESPN: Kyrie Irving Would Hold His Own Practices with Nets After Steve Nash's Practice

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 20, 2022

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported on Monday's First Take that Kyrie Irving would hold his own practices during the 2021-22 season.

"Did you know that this brother Kyrie Irving last season would conduct his own practices?" he said. "So when Steve Nash had the team on the floor, and they practiced, they would finish and he'd go and get five guys and conduct his own practice. ... Do you have any idea how disrespectful that is to Steve Nash?"

Smith's report comes on the same day that Shams Charania wrote for The Athletic that "conversations about Irving's future have gone stagnant between him and the Nets" and that an "impasse currently exists among the parties" that could open the door to his departure.

Irving has a $36.5 million player option for next season with a June 29 deadline for whether to exercise it or decline it and become a free agent.

The Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers and New York Knicks are the teams most interested in acquiring Irving if he doesn't return to Brooklyn, per Charania.

Amid Monday's reports, Irving sent the following cryptic tweet of The Wire's Brother Mouzone:

A11Even @KyrieIrving

<a href="https://t.co/1NuxXUan7Z">pic.twitter.com/1NuxXUan7Z</a>

Irving's time in Brooklyn has been eventful, to say the least.

Upon Nash's hiring as head coach in 2020, Irving raised some eyebrows when he suggested the role would be more of a group effort.

"I don't really see us having a head coach," he said on Kevin Durant's podcast The ETCs. "You know what I mean? KD could be a head coach. I could be a head coach."

He played just 20 games for the Nets in the 2019-20 season as a shoulder injury and knee sprain cost him time. He played in 54 games in 2020-21, though a sprained ankle left him unavailable for the last three games of the team's Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks as they were eliminated in seven games.

Irving then played just 29 games for the Nets last season. He couldn't participate in home games for the majority of the season as an unvaccinated player under New York City's vaccine mandate for athletes and city employees, which wasn't lifted until March.

The Nets were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics.

The first three years of the Irving and Kevin Durant partnership in Brooklyn have been filled with injuries, drama—James Harden forced a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers in February—and unfulfilled expectations.

Nonetheless, the prevailing belief was that Irving would return to the Nets this summer. He told reporters in April, "I don't really plan on going anywhere."

Monday's reports, though, inspire far less certainty on whether his future remains in Brooklyn.

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