Everyone who covers the NBA is speculating about the mess in Brooklyn: Does Kyrie Irving just want to go to the Lakers? Would that mean Kevin Durant wants out too?
One NBA media member has a little more time on his hands than usual and joined in on the fun: Warriors podcaster/forward Draymond Green managed to use the one basketball question in a Bloomberg interview about his podcast to take shots at Irving, his old teammate Durant and the Lakers.
Writer Lucas Shaw shared the exchange on Twitter after the question was cut from his article which, to be fair, was entirely about Green’s podcast and not mercurial and unvaccinated point guards.
Green told Shaw that he thought Irving would probably stay in Brooklyn, as Irving has a $36 million player option for this season and the Lakers might be able to pay him as little as the $6 million mid-level exception. Shaw asked: If Irving heads west on a lower salary anyway, are the Lakers contenders?
Draymond said they were, then managed to get in subtle and less-subtle jabs at Irving and Durant. “With LeBron, if you give him someone like Kyrie… they’ll have a chance because of the way Kyrie can score the basketball,” he said. “LeBron will only put him in position to do that. Kyrie has not proven to be a great leader. LeBron will put an umbrella over that. If you can do what you’re good at, you have LeBron leading.
“They could contend, but they won’t beat us.”
The “great leader” quip is a reminder that Irving had extended disappearances in all three of his Brooklyn seasons. (Briefly: He missed 50 games with a purportedly day-to-day shoulder injury in 2019 , left the team for personal reasons after the Jan. 6 attack in 2021, and then couldn’t play home games for much of 2021-22 because he didn’t get vaccinated against COVID-19.) But Green’s point that “LeBron will put an umbrella over that” could easily be read as “unlike Kevin Durant.”
Irving’s deadline to opt in with the Nets is Wednesday.