Mavericks’ Kyrie Irving Rattled By Load-Management ‘Narrative’

'I just think the narrative needs to change'


February 19

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving voiced his latest issue.

Irving, who forced the Brooklyn Nets’ hand in trading him before the NBA trade deadline, has played four games with the Mavericks while missing Dallas’ final contest ahead of the All-Star break. Typically, an abrupt absence leads many to believe that a player — especially of Irving’s caliber — is doing so for load management purposes. The term itself is derived from the practice of sitting out games to recover and rest.

Yet, Irving would object to that notion.

The eight-time All-Star feels the term is harmful to individuals across the league and that it undersells the severity of what NBA players endure throughout a season.

“I just think the narrative needs to change in terms of load management,” Irving said, according to RealGM. “Eighty-two games is a long season. I’m not saying we can’t do it. We’re in 2023. We have all the technology necessary. We have to use it wisely, and we have to be very communicative about what the plan is for everybody individually.”

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Considering Irving’s recent track record, many believers in load management would likely categorize the 30-year-old as one who participates in it. During his stint with the Nets, Irving never played a full season. Aside from a few injuries to his ankle and back, Irving hasn’t played a 70-plus games in a single season since his 2016-17 campaign with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Through his first five NBA seasons, Irving averaged roughly 61 games per season. And in his last five (not including this season), he’s averaged 46. Irving missed a good chunk of time last season over Brooklyn’s COVID-19 vaccination rules as well.

“I think it’s dehumanized some of us in terms of just the way we prepare ourselves day-to-day,” Irving said. “This a 24/7 job. We have cameras on us all the time. It’s a high-level, combative sport. It’s very aggressive.”

Irving added: “Everybody’s body is different. So you may see somebody heal in two weeks, but it may take someone else a month and a half to heal. It’s just different.”

Thumbnail photo via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images
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