Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving has made headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent years.
Currently, he’s serving a suspension from the Nets after he decided to share a link to an anti-Semitic film and seemingly defended his decision to do so while speaking to the press.
It’s the latest chapter in Irving’s controversial career. Many are wondering what his future holds in the NBA. Since drama and controversy tend to follow the 30-year-old around wherever he goes, there are likely plenty of teams that would rather not associate with him.
However, one executive thinks the Miami Heat may be willing and able to “deal with” Irving.
“It’s gonna take a special organization and coach to want to deal with the guy,” the executive told The Athletic. “Miami comes to mind, but Miami might say, ‘We’re good; we don’t want to deal with it.’ … But if you don’t have the reputation with one of your players or the coach or the front office guy, where you’re one of the larger figures in the league, I just don’t know why you take that on because he seems pretty hard to manage.
“You don’t know when he’ll be available. He already wasn’t that durable coming into it, but now he’s sitting out for vaccinations, he’s making these comments. So he’s the opposite of a commodity, man, which is what you want a player who’s getting paid that much to be — a trustworthy (person where) you know exactly what you’re gonna get. And even if you know they have an injury profile where they might miss a certain number of games, you can bake that into the equation. With him, it’s just so hard to discern when he’s going to be available and what makes him tick.”
As the executive mentioned, Irving’s availability is another major issue for any team that’s thinking about rolling the dice on him. Since the beginning of his first season with the Nets (the 2019-20 campaign), Irving has appeared in just 111 regular season games in total.
Excluding this season, he has averaged roughly 34 games played per season with Brooklyn. The team has had an extremely hard time relying on him.
Last season, Irving’s availability issues played a major role in Brooklyn’s disappointing campaign. The seven-time All-Star refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which drastically reduced the number of games he was able to play in.
Irving ended up seeing action in just 29 games in the regular season, and there seemingly wasn’t enough time for the squad to build chemistry and get on the same page. Brooklyn was swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics.
There’s no denying that Irving is a talented player, as he’s averaging 26.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game this season. However, his production is typically a package deal with off-the-court headaches, and that’s a situation the Heat may decide to stay away from.