Although the Brooklyn Nets have won only one out of their first three games in the 2019-20 NBA season, new acquisition Kyrie Irving has been on a roll so far, averaging 37.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 6.3 assists. He debuted for his new team with a 50-point explosion against the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, the former Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics star has also faced his share of controversy, with a recent report claiming that his penchant for “mood swings” is already causing concern for Nets officials.
Speaking to ESPN‘s Malika Andrews on Tuesday, Nets players DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie and head coach Kenny Atkinson offered their take on the rumors, all of them stressing that Irving has not caused any problems since joining the team.
“It is not affecting our team,” said Jordan, who, together with Irving and Kevin Durant, was one of three major free-agent acquisitions who were signed by the Nets this summer.
“I think Kyrie is a great guy. I don’t think he is doing anything negative that I have seen. And he’s a friend of mine, so if he was, I’d tell him.”
Jordan was also quoted later on as saying that “everybody in the world goes through mood swings,” especially in a league like the NBA where its athletes tend to be competitive.
Atkinson, meanwhile, kept things succinct when debunking the rumors, simply commenting that it’s “completely untrue” Irving has not had a positive impact on his new team.
Kyrie Irving’s "mood swings" are an "unspoken concern that makes Brooklyn officials queasy."— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 29, 2019
Nets sources say an episode happened on their trip to China, leaving the team confused, per Jackie MacMullan pic.twitter.com/Yu0xd8JRNI
The original report on Irving’s supposed moodiness was published on Monday night by ESPN senior writer Jackie MacMullan, who noted that these outbursts have been “confirmed” by the point guard’s former teammates on the Cavaliers and Celtics. She described this as an “unspoken concern” for Nets officials, as Irving purportedly tends to become aloof toward coaching staff members and teammates when he isn’t in a good mood.
In addition, MacMullan cited unnamed team sources and detailed one alleged mood swing that took place during the Nets’ visit to China earlier this month, an incident that allegedly left everyone “scratching their heads” because it seemingly came out of nowhere. This elicited a response from Nets backup guard Dinwiddie, as quoted on Andrews’ report for ESPN on Tuesday.
“Quite frankly, I think the head-scratching incident happened from someone on the [Houston] Rockets. It had nothing to do with us.”
As noted by Yahoo Sports, Dinwiddie was most likely referring to Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who drew controversy earlier this month when he tweeted in support of Hong Kong amid its protests against the Chinese government.