Jacque Vaughn keeping Nets' composure after Kyrie Irving trade request: 'We're not gonna make this weird'

Kristian Winfield, New York Daily News on

Published in Basketball

NEW YORK — One day after requesting a trade from Brooklyn, Nets star Kyrie Irving — listed as out with right calf soreness for Saturday’s matchup against the Washington Wizards — skipped the team’s pregame walkthrough.

Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn said hours ahead of tipoff he was unsure whether or not Irving would sit on the bench to support his teammates on Saturday.

Asked if he thinks Irving is letting the team down by requesting a trade at this point of the season, Vaughn said: “I think you have responsibility as a basketball player like I do as a coach. I show up, I do my job every single day. That’s what I signed up for. And that’s my expectations for one through 17.”

Reserve guard Edmond Sumner started in place of the star guard on Saturday.

Irving requested a trade after he and the Nets failed to come to an agreement on a long-term fully-guaranteed contract extension. The Nets reportedly offered Irving a contract with stipulations based on his availability baked into the final year of his deal. According to the same report from Bleacher Report, the Nets also baked an NBA championship stipulation into Irving’s contract offer.

His camp balked and requested a trade just six days ahead of the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline. The informed the Nets he has no desire to return to the Nets in free agency this summer.


Irving’s potential suitors reportedly include the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat. The New York Daily News first reported the mutual interest between Irving and the Lakers when Kevin Durant requested a trade over the summer.

Vaughn said he spoke to his players throughout the day on Friday in an effort to keep their minds on the task at hand: rebounding with a victory over the Wizards after Wednesday’s 43-point loss to the Boston Celtics.

“Yesterday I touched base with every single player. That was a day for me to get what you need, and mine was to [speak] with every single player,” he said. “I’m not going to speculate on stuff that’s out there that’s been reported. My job is hopefully to stay consistent. Hopefully, I’ve been that way with you guys and with our group. And I touched base with our guys every single one of them yesterday.”

“I said to them, ‘We’re not gonna make this weird. We’re here to play, we’re here to do a job. Show up and do your job,’ ” he continued. “I said, ‘You’ve done the first step of this thing is we’re here, we’re showing up. Let’s do the work to get a win tonight.’ And that’s what I’m going to continue to try to focus them on. That’s what I’m focused on, and I look forward to try and get a win.”


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