There’s a famous saying: what you think about me is none of my business. It fits Kyrie Irving like a glove. When he said he wanted out of Cleveland after a title and an annual rite of going to the NBA Finals, he was considered that crazy Kyrie kid who wants to do it his way. When he told Boston fans he wasn’t going anywhere, he was praised and called loyal. A few months later, a telephone call to LeBron James and all of a sudden Kyrie Irving had humility. He was maturing (finally), or to the cynics, he was being self-serving so he could wind up in Los Angeles.
Is he crazy? Is he loyal? Is he manipulative?
What if he’s all three, and what if he’s not? Meaning, depending on the situation he sees things in a different kind of way. His loyalty is shaky and he uses what he has at his disposal in the moment. He will say what he thinks you want to hear. But make no mistake, Kyrie Irving has no sentimental attachments. He doesn’t bleed green. He won’t bleed orange and blue, Knick fan. He didn’t bleed wine and gold. Kyrie Irving bleeds Kyrie. It’s all about what he wants in the moment. What you think about him doesn’t matter.
Despite the fact that he might sneak out of town, he is having a hell of a season. He has never shot the ball better. He is making nearly 50% of his shots. 4 out of the last 5 years he is a 40% 3-point shotmaker. His offensive rebounds are a career high, as are his total rebounds, assists and offensive rating. His PER is 25.3, the highest in his career and he has no weakness on any part of the court. 48% 3-10 feet, 56% 10-16 feet, 46% long twos. He makes 47% of his jumpers and in the first half of a game makes 52% of his shots. He’s only dunked one time this season and his 4th quarter three ball needs a little oxygen but Kyrie is well, being Kyrie.
Of course, there are some injury issues. He’s missed three of the last five games, which is the Kyrie fault line. He’s never played 82 games. Or, 81. Or, 80.
The Knicks want Kyrie so bad because he is a game changer at the point guard position. He is a fearless shot maker that comes through in the moment. Because he doesn’t care what people think, he can block out all of that Knick noise. But rest assured, Kyrie is the same person who will smile in the Knicks face and then turn his back on them and plop himself on the west coast and then shrug.
He lives in a bubble of his own making. Others would feel a little regret for promising to stay in Boston and now that the Knicks have cap space, start being elusive and coy. But not Kyrie. He’s matured but not all the way.
The only point guards better than Kyrie Irving are Steph Curry and James Harden. He is the best point guard in the Eastern Conference and the likelihood is that he stays in the conference and remains a dominant presence. But the problem with Kyrie is that you can’t really trust him. He can make shots for you, be a paid assassin, but he’s not a leader and he will let his frustrations get the best of him. He wants to win a title without LeBron James and he wants to win it as the star and he wants all the eyes on him.
If he reneges on his promise, he will never be forgiven in Boston. But he’s not forgiven in Cleveland. And wherever he goes after that, he won’t be forgiven. He’s not a villain, per se. But he is walking in shoes he can never fill. He can’t be who everyone wants him to be. He is wired differently. And so we are left with Kyrie doing Kyrie things. Which means New York is in the air.