Kyrie Irving Talks Steve Nash, 'Pawns' Comment, James Harden Trade Rumors, More

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 14, 2020

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) handles the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, in Washington. The Wizards won 113-107. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving met with reporters for the first time this season Monday after being fined $25,000 for refusing to attend media day Thursday.

Irving, who seemingly called the media "pawns" in an Instagram post Friday, attempted to clarify the post, saying he was not referring to reporters but rather his ability to protect his voice.

The quote seems contradictory to Irving's post, which was a direct response to the NBA's fining him for not talking to media. Beginning with a Malcolm X quote about "someone else's propaganda," Irving dismissed the fine and appeared to directly address the media as "pawns."

"I am here for Peace, Love, and Greatness," Irving wrote. "So stop distracting me and my team, and appreciate the Art. We move different over here. I do not talk to Pawns. My attention is worth more."

Irving also addressed comments he made on the podcast The ETCs in October, walking back the idea that the Nets don't have a "head" coach after hiring Steve Nash. Irving and Kevin Durant said on the podcast they expect the coaching to be a collaborative effort.

"I think I got to take back my comments from a few months ago," Irving said.

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Nash, who has no coaching experience aside from a part-time player development role with the Golden State Warriors from 2015 to 2017, was hired in September. Many saw the move as being made largely at the behest of Durant and Irving. Durant and Nash developed a strong bond during their lone season together in Golden State.

Nash has admitted on several occasions that he'll have to learn on the fly in his first head-coaching gig. Brooklyn brought in Mike D'Antoni to help lead the offense, and Jacque Vaughn, who ended last season as the team's interim coach, will run the defense, leaving the personable Nash's biggest responsibility as the egos of his players.

That effort could become even more important if the Nets find a way to acquire James Harden, who reportedly has made Brooklyn his priority after requesting a trade from Houston. Irving briefly discussed the Harden rumors, saying he only wants Harden to be happy.

The Rockets have yet to find traction with the Nets or Philadelphia 76ers, the other widely reported suitor, in trade talks.