NBA training camps open next week, but the NBA saltiness is already in playoff form. Let’s start with Kyrie Irving’s appearance yesterday on ESPN. It’s been a minute since everything went down in Cleveland that resulted in Kyrie being traded to Boston, so it’s worth a reminder about who we’re dealing with. Kyrie is an incredible scorer, not a great defender, and one different cat. One might even go so far as to say “weird.”
And weird is good. But let’s not get it twisted, Kyrie is a weird dude. I’m not even talking about the Flat Earth truther thing, because I’m not sure if he really is a Flat Earth Truther or if that was some kind of elaborate hoax, which means it could be a weird belief or a weird prank or troll. And either way, it’s weird.
Which is also a good way to summarize his visit to the morning show yesterday. Because for a guy who sat down for roughly 40 minutes to talk about his departure from Cleveland, he managed to say very little about…his departure from Cleveland. For example, he was asked if he spoke to LeBron before he and his representatives told the team they wanted out. His answer: “No.”
When asked why not, Kyrie said, “Why would I have to?” Then when it was explained that if you don’t speak to LeBron, he might take it personally, Kyrie said, “Yeah.” And then when asked if he cared about that at all, Kyrie said, “No.”
I mean, I guess he’s right. He doesn’t have to speak to LeBron and from the sounds of it, things had gotten so bad between them that they probably weren’t really on speaking terms and even if they had been, talking wouldn’t have changed much. But It’s one thing to not want to talk to LeBron about it, it’s quite another to go on a show and not want to talk about it either.
When asked about the money he left on the table by leaving Cleveland, Kyrie said, “You can’t put a price on happiness.”
Uh, okay. I guess.
When asked to pick between Kobe and LeBron, Kyrie said, “In terms of who my favorite player is: My dad first, Kobe second. You know how I feel about that.” Which inspired a Twitter screamfest of “Ooooooo, he just went there! Oh, no he didn’t!” Actually, no, he didn’t.
Stop it. Kyrie didn’t say Kobe was better than LeBron. Nor did he say that Kobe was greater than LeBron. He said that he liked Kobe more than LeBron, which makes complete sense since he just asked to be traded away from LeBron. And beyond that, he said that he liked his dad more than both of them. And I don’t hear anyone saying, Damn, Kyrie just said that Drederick Irving is better than Kobe! Because that’s essentially what he said if you want to say that he said Kobe is better than LeBron.
There was no way he was going to come on that show and hype LeBron. The whole point of going to Boston was so that he could move out of LeBron’s shadow. And the whole point of doing this long interview was to remind everyone that he wanted to get out of LeBron’s shadow, even if he didn’t really seem to want to talk about getting out of LeBron’s shadow. The only thing weirder than Kyrie going on that show and not really answering questions about the dynamic with LeBron would’ve been if he went on and actually praised LeBron, talked about how LeBron made him a better player, took pressure off him as a scorer, helped him on the defensive end, etc. But there’s no way that was going to happen.
You really think after a summer of trying to separate from LeBron, he’s going to come in and bang the drum for LeBron? Hell no. Which is also why he found a way to casually infer that Kevin Durant is at least in LeBron’s neighborhood because he just won a title.
And of course this all got back to LeBron, which would explain LeBron hopping on social media to post a couple videos about him and Kevin Love getting in work.
Say, did that go up on the same day that Kyrie did his interview? What a coinky-dink! Crazy, right? Nah, that’s not an accident. That’s just LeBron casually firing back. And I have exactly zero problem with that at all. Because that’s just going to make that season opening game, when Boston comes to Cleveland, even more intriguing. You bring the popcorn, these two will bring the salt.
Much ado about nothing. Pretty much 40 minutes of nothing. He didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know, aside from the fact that he really doesn’t like LeBron and he really doesn’t want to come right out and say he doesn’t like LeBron.
Next time, Kyrie, go total heel. Absolutely torch the guy or don’t bother at all.