The Brooklyn Nets are a professional basketball team in the National Basketball Association. They play their home games at Barclays Center, which is located in Brooklyn, New York City.

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The NBA season hasn’t yet begun, but there are already enough major stories circulating around the league to cover a whole newspaper, much alone a sports section. Kyrie Irving’s predicament with the Brooklyn Nets has been one of the most talked-about issues, as his alleged reluctance to receive the COVID-19 vaccination may result in him missing at least half of his team’s games.

So, although the Nets had championship ambitions with Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden, those hopes may be dashed before the season even starts, and Irving’s departure from Brooklyn may be the result of that alone. Indeed, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith recently made an intriguing assertion regarding the seven-time All-future Star’s with the team.

Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets was slammed by Stephen A. Smith.

According to ESPN, Kyrie Irving, who is allegedly unvaccinated, was recently granted permission to train at the Nets’ HSS Training Center after the city designated it as a “private office building” rather than an indoor gym. But it didn’t solve the team’s greatest problem going into the season: Irving won’t be able to participate in any of the team’s home games due to a New York City vaccination requirement.

Sure, the Nets have Kevin Durant and James Harden, but missing half of the season without Irving, a key member of their Big Three, may be detrimental to a team with championship ambitions.

Stephen A. Smith of ESPN is also irritated.

On the Oct. 8 edition of First Take, Smith stated, “He can destroy their franchise,” before addressing how James Harden may opt out of his contract and test free agency after the 2021-22 season. “… Kevin Durant isn’t the only one who deserves more; James Harden is also deserving. Kyrie Irving is putting this organization through hell, and James Harden deserves better. So, when Kyrie Irving sits back and thinks about himself and his ‘principled views,’ he’s jeopardizing the organization since Kevin Durant and James Harden are both ballers. They don’t care about the rest of it; they just want to hoop.”

Smith’s over-the-top ESPN style may not be to everyone’s taste, but he made some good points. Why would Harden want to stay in Brooklyn if he isn’t going to win a championship?

The commentator’s next eyebrow-raiser came as a result of this.

Kevin Durant may grant the Nets permission to trade Kyrie Irving.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets in 2021.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets in 2021. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets during a game against the Toronto Raptors on April 27, 2021. Getty Images/Julio Aguilar

Smith then reported some rumblings from around the NBA after slamming Irving for this new distraction.

“I was informed, ‘Yo, Kevin Durant; don’t believe for a second that Kevin Durant isn’t going to give Brooklyn the OK to trade this brother if things keep going the way they are,’” Smith recalled. “‘I don’t believe he’s that devoted to Kyrie Irving that he’ll simply accept everything else.’… There’s a lot going on in Brooklyn, and if Kyrie doesn’t return, all hell might break loose.”

It’s difficult to envision Durant informing the Nets they can move Irving, particularly given their rumored relationship. But who knows what could happen if Irving jeopardizes KD’s legacy.

But, at this point, would Brooklyn be able to obtain anything for Irving?

Kyrie Irving may be the Nets’ only option.

Kyrie Irving has previously caused problems for the Nets. Due to personal circumstances, he took two weeks off last season and missed five games. During that period, he also violated the league’s health and safety standards.

With all of the controversy around him and the fact that he has a player option for next season, Irving’s trade value may be minimal. The Nets may have to choose between retaining someone who may endanger their season and/or future and not receiving the trade value they want.

Smith does not believe the market is favorable to him.

“Right now, nobody trusts him in the league,” he stated on First Take. “I had one executive tell me that if he could, [Nets general manager] Sean Marks would give Kyrie Irving away for a box of cookies,” he said.

The Nets have a tremendous opportunity to win a championship and become one of the greatest teams in NBA history with Irving on the floor. Without him, the chances of it occurring are far lower. Sure, they’d love to trade Irving if Durant gave them the go-ahead, but with all the drama surrounding the guard, they may be stuck with him.

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RELATED: Kyrie Irving Is So Devoted to the Brooklyn Nets That He Would Rather Retire Than Be Traded Away

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