After a tumultuous offseason, Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving reportedly made an effort to bring his team closer together.
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported that Irving "set up a team dinner for the entire Nets roster" on Oct. 8 that was also attended by "other franchise officials" to serve as a "team bonding experience."
The Rally @TheRally
"I'm told on Oct. 8, Kyrie Irving set up a team dinner for the entire Nets roster."<br><br>NBA Insider <a href="https://twitter.com/ShamsCharania?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ShamsCharania</a> reports on Irving setting up a team bonding event after a rocky offseason for the Nets organization. <a href="https://t.co/zVMm7Bz66A">pic.twitter.com/zVMm7Bz66A</a>
"I think Kyrie Irving spearheading that and being the one to coordinate that goes a long way in terms of leadership and also what he's tried to set forth this offseason with a lot of the instability that's occurred," Charania said. "But now, it finally looks somewhat stable going into the season, and the Nets should be primed for a good season."
The team-building outing comes after Irving received substantial attention this offseason for multiple reasons. He was the subject of rampant trade speculation after reportedly receiving permission to seek a sign-and-trade from the Nets. Rumors indicated he was pushing for a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers in hopes of a reunion with former teammate LeBron James, but that obviously didn't come to fruition.
Irving also generated headlines for his questionable use of social media in which he shared a video containing conspiracy theories from right-wing personality Alex Jones. NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar called Irving a "comical buffoon" for posting the video and said for Irving to associate himself with Jones "means you share his stench."
The 30-year-old refuses to undergo COVID-19 vaccination and has not been shy about speaking out against vaccine mandates. He also showed no remorse after receiving backlash for posting the Jones video.
Compared to Irving's offseason exploits, Nets forward Kevin Durant's trade request seems like an afterthought. However, the team was in disarray for quite some time before the 12-time All-Star decided to mend fences and move forward with Brooklyn this season.
On paper, the Nets have a team that should be among the top contenders to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. Along with Irving and Durant, three-time All-Star Ben Simmons will be making his return to the court after missing all of last season because of injuries and other factors.
Brooklyn will open its season Wednesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans.