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In the wake of Kyrie Irving’s stunning trade request from the Nets, a cryptic tweet sent by the star guard Friday shortly before the news broke may have provided some insight into his growing rift with team management.
Irving, 30, shared a message on Twitter encouraging people to surround themselves with those who “celebrate you unconditionally” and steer clear of individuals who “manipulate, hate, and hurt.” The timing of the eight-time All-Star’s tweet raised eyebrows after Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Irving, who’s playing on the last year of a four-year deal, requested to be traded by the Feb. 9 deadline after the Nets tried to add stipulations to a potential contract extension.
“To my Peers: JUST BE YOURSelf and GROW! Keep people around who CELEBRATE YOU unconditionally and appreciates all of the hard work that gets put in. Distance yourself from the folks who manipulate, hate, and hurt. Hélà,” Irving wrote along with a fingers crossed emoji and an infinity symbol.
While it’s unknown at this time if Irving’s tweet was directed at the Nets, the 12-year veteran appears focused on a change of scenery after talks with Brooklyn broke down in recent days. According to Charania, Irving is prepared to leave the Nets in free agency this summer if he’s not moved over the next six days; any team looking to acquire Irving would be responsible for the remaining
On the season, Irving, who was recently named a All-Star starter, has played in 40 games and averaged 27.1 points, 5.3 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game. Entering Friday, the Nets (31–20) are currently in fourth place in the East and just 5.5 games behind the first place Celtics despite not having Kevin Durant (sprained MCL) in the lineup since Jan. 8.