Kyrie Irving felt ‘disrespected’ by Nets before Mavericks trade

When it came to Kyrie Irving forcing his way out of Brooklyn, the now former Net said he wanted to be somewhere he felt “celebrated” rather than “tolerated.”

Irving met with the media Tuesday for the first time since being traded to the Mavericks on Sunday.

“I just know I wanna be places where I’m celebrated and not just tolerated or just dealt with in a way that doesn’t make me feel respected,” Irving said. “There were times throughout this process when I was in Brooklyn where I felt very disrespected.

“I work extremely hard at what I do. No one ever talks about my work ethic, though. Everyone talks about what I’m doing off the floor.”

Off the floor is where Irving got himself into hot water, though, be it with his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which meant he wasn’t available for 35 Nets home games last season, or with his endorsement of an anti-Semitic film this season and subsequent initial obstinance toward an apology afterward that ultimately led to a suspension.

Asked what specifically the Nets did to make him feel the way he did, Irving declined to say.

“That’s another day where I could really go into detail about it,” he said.

Ultimately the Nets decided they’d heard enough and that Irving wasn’t worth the trouble, despite his averaging 27.1 points, 5.3 assists and 5.1 rebounds this season. After Irving demanded last week to be dealt by the Feb. 9 deadline or he’d walk in free agency this summer, Brooklyn shipped the eight-time All-Star, along with veteran big man Markieff Morris, to the Mavericks for guard Spencer Dinwiddie, forward Dorian Finney-Smith, an unprotected 2029 first-round pick and 2027 and 2029 second-rounders.

Kyrie Irving (r.) at Mavericks practice on Feb. 7, 2023.
Kyrie Irving (r.) at Mavericks practice on Feb. 7, 2023.

The Nets traded Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks earlier this week.
The Nets traded Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks earlier this week.

Irving’s three-plus-year Nets career lasted just 143 out of a possible 278 games.

He added that while he didn’t feel the organization respected him, he doesn’t hold anything against anyone there, citing close relationships he said he still maintains with people from previous teams in Cleveland and Boston.

“I need healthy boundaries,” Irving said. “There’s a lot of disrespect that goes on with people’s families, with their names. … It’s nothing personal against any of those guys in the front office, it’s just what I’m willing to accept.”

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