Kyrie Irving is glad to make a new start with the Dallas Mavericks after engineering a move away from the Brooklyn Nets.
In his first interview since Brooklyn dealt him to Dallas on Monday, Irving said on Tuesday that he was “very disrespected” at his former workplace.
“I just know I want to be places where I’m celebrated and not just tolerated or just kind of dealt with in a way that doesn’t make me feel respected,” Irving said in Los Angeles ahead of the Mavericks’ Wednesday game against the Clippers.
“There were times throughout this process when I was in Brooklyn where I felt very disrespected and my talent – 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, so I just wanted to change that narrative, write my own story and just continue preparing in the gym, and now that I’m in Dallas, just focus on what I control.”
Asked to elaborate on how the Nets disrespected him, Irving replied he saw insufficient “transparency and honesty from people in the front office.”
Last week, Irving demanded a trade away from Brooklyn, and the Nets obliged, dealing him and Markieff Morris to the Mavericks in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2029 first-round draft pick and two second-round picks.
Irving said of the Nets, “I wish them well. I left them in fourth place. I did what I was supposed to do, took care of my teammates, was incredibly selfless in my approach to leading, and I just want to do all the right things for myself – not to appease anybody that had something negative to say about me or judge me. This basketball game – just, it’s fun, and I want to keep it that way.”
Irving is looking forward to teaming with Mavericks star Luka Doncic, though both of them are ball-dominant guards.
“It’s still a wait and see, but I think me as a hooper, me as a basketball player, am I worried about us coexisting and finding cohesion? No,” Irving said.
“So as much as I can alleviate for him, as much as I can lead alongside him, willing to do, but there’s no pressure here. Nothing’s forced with me and him. I just want to play basketball and enjoy his talent and enjoy my teammates’ talent and work towards a championship.”
Irving, 30, produced averages of 27.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.3 assists in 40 games for the Nets this season. The eight-time All-Star has career marks of 23.3 points, 5.7 assists and 3.9 rebounds in 651 NBA games for the Cleveland Cavaliers (2011-2012 to 2016-2017), Boston Celtics (2017-2018 to 2018-2019), and Brooklyn (2019-2020 to 2022-2023).
He won an NBA championship alongside LeBron James with the Cavaliers in 2016. – Rappler.com
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