Perhaps Kyrie Irving’s teammates accept his ever-shifting moods because he delivers.
Former NBA player Channing Frye raised this idea Thursday morning on NBA TV’s “Handles” when he argued the Brooklyn Nets point guard’s reported “mood swings” will have minimal effect on the team’s chemistry and prospects for success. Frye defended Irving’s demeanor one day after ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan reported Nets officials already have become queasy over his mood swings. If Irving has made Nets staff feel uneasy during his short time in Brooklyn, Frye insists his attitude won’t disrupt the locker room.
“No (they don’t affect the locker room), especially if you have a veteran team, which they have,” Frye said. “I think sometimes when you start with a younger, rebuilding team like the Nets were, and then you start adding vets who are used to doing things their way, may not just fall in line.
“Kyrie is a champion, he’s an All-Star, he is a superstar, so he may do things differently than what you’re used to or what you want. But he’s out there — I don’t care if he doesn’t practice almost like Allen Iverson — he’s putting up big numbers for them. And he’s going to continue to do that, and guys want to play with him, and he’s a reason that KD (Kevin Durant) is also there.
“So … if he doesn’t want to take his hat off, leave the man alone. It doesn’t even matter. As long as his product on the court is fine, as long as it doesn’t disrupt my locker room, you’re good with me.”
The first part of Frye’s insight — the part about veteran teams versus younger ones — seemingly is the most telling. Irving’s critics love to blame his moodiness for derailing the Boston Celtics’ 2018-19 season. The team’s average age at the start of last season was 25.89 years old. He left the Celtics last summer in free agency for the Nets, whose average age currently is 25.9 years old.
Frye played alongside Irving with the Cleveland Cavaliers between 2016 and 2017, reaching the NBA Finals twice and winning once. Frye still holds Irving in high esteem and, at age 36, is mature enough not to allow a colleague’s perceived moodiness to affect him personally.
It’s hard to expect those ten-plus years younger — roughly the average age of the Nets — to have the same nonchalant reaction.
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