It was one of the shorter turnarounds in the recent history of NBA free agency becoming the world’s biggest soap opera (the dawn of which is probably “taking my talents to South Beach”). Sometime yesterday, rumors broke that Kyrie Irving and the Nets could see eye-to-eye with Irving heading into a player-option year. Or more likely the Nets were exhausted by the incomprehensible river of shit Irving makes his team swim through just to have him for 30 games, and were only too happy to give his agent permission to find a destination in a sign-and-trade.
Mere hours later, Irving released the customary up-his-own-ass statement that he would be taking up his player-option to stay in Brooklyn for at least another season. Wonder how that turned around so quickly. Just the damndest thing.
What’s satisfying is that the rejection must’ve been so thorough to cause his u-turn within hours, you wonder if GMs weren’t laughing his agent right off the phone. Irving’s list was utterly preposterous. The Heat and Mavericks don’t need him, the 76ers must’ve been a joke to make us all laugh or an indication that Irving truly doesn’t know what planet he’s on, and even the Knicks couldn’t justify giving themselves that headache. The buzz was the Lakers would consider it, except they had literally nothing to give up. And the only worse situation one could find themselves in is certainly with whatever snuff film the Lakers are right now. Given the choice between pushing for the Lakers or going back to a place where everyone hates him, Irving chose the latter. Catch Season 2 of Winning Time next spring, folks.
It’s clear Irving and his agent figured out he had no other options, and you can tell that Irving was trying to throw people off the scent of that by making his statement as self-serving as possible, as if there’s something revolutionary about deigning to accept $37 million. What the Nets are probably tired of even more than Irving’s weekly Insta-palooza of Aristotle thinking is the fact that he’s just never on the court. When it’s not him leading a cause that only the truly bewildered can follow, it’s because his body is made of balsa wood. Since leaving Cleveland, Irving has never played more than 67 games in a season. You can bet he’ll play more games next season, given he has to re-establish his value when he hits free agency for the last big contract he’s going to get, likely. If he can, or if he can keep himself from getting distracted from whatever shiny thing he finds on the internet that keeps him home that particular day. If he doesn’t pile up the starts, the Nets will almost assuredly spit it in the first round again while Kevin Durant’s bones turn to dust as he puts up 46-point games that go nowhere, likely as Ben Simmons continues to wear sunglasses indoors.
While player power is generally a good thing, and nowhere is it as freely wielded as it is in the NBA, which makes it as watched as it is, sometimes it is refreshing to watch a dipshit high from huffing his own farts get thwacked with reality. Irving got Regina George’d, though it will assuredly be played off by him as yet another thing he has to overcome when all of it is his own doing.
Welcome to Alcaraz
A truly weird Wimbledon kicked off yesterday. Tournament officials decided months ago to ban Russian and Belarusian players from Wimbledon due to the invasion of Ukraine. In response, the WTA and ATP decided to strip the tourney of its rankings points on the tour, meaning that players do not gain or lose anything in the rankings no matter what they do at The All England Club. But it’s still Wimbledon, and the money and prestige of it is still more than enough draw for players.
As every tournament will be until he does it, this will serve as a survey on Carlos Alcaraz, who looks for all the world to be the next torch-carrier after Djokovic and Nadal. Alcaraz had an incredible spring before the French Open. He won three tournaments, including kneecapping Djokovic, Nadal, and Zverev all in a row in Madrid. He bowed out to Zverev in the quarters at Roland Garros.
He had to dig himself out of serious trouble in the first round yesterday, needing five sets to get past Jan-Lennard Struff, and if you need to know why Alcaraz is so special, well…
Struff won that point two or three times without winning it. Which is the kind of thing opponents have said about Nadal for a decade and a half now. Stay tuned.