BY LESLIE MONTEIRO
(Photo credit: Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)
I hope you had a nice summer. I know it was an interesting offseason for you. It’s never a dull moment with you. You embrace controversy the way I embrace food.
You tried to opt-out of your contract until you realized no one wanted your service. No one would be foolish enough to pay you with the nonsense you bring with your service, so you settled on coming back to the Nets under the original contract you signed. Then, you have to deal with Kevin Durant being disgusted with the Nets just for him to realize they weren’t ever going to trade him.
So, you and Kevin are stuck with each other and you two are stuck with the Nets. I don’t know if you both like it or not, but here you guys are.
I am sure you will deal with it. You are getting paid to play with the best players in the world. You get to play in a city where no one really cares about you and your team. You are playing a kid’s game. You can get over it, right?
I just need one request from you. I know it’s hard. You can’t help yourself. But here goes: Can you make this season controversy-free for you? As in don’t say stupid stuff such as vaccination is bad or do stupid stuff such as taking time off from your team? Can you go out and play hard every game?
The Nets need you. You basically stole money in your three years here. You were the reason the team underachieved last season by being a part-time player as a result of you not wanting to be vaccinated. Isn’t it time you pay the Nets back by putting an honest day’s work for an honest pay? Isn’t it time to be a leader? Isn’t it time you show respect for the game by going out there and trying?
Look, I know the grind of the job can wear on people. I do manual labor myself. I work at FedEx five days a week in the warehouse. I do package handling. I inspect packages. I don’t even feel like working, but I do anyway because I take pride in my job and I love my coworkers and my bosses. I have respect for the job for me to find a way to show up.
You have it easy believe it or not, Kyrie. It could be worse. You could be doing manual labor. You could be unemployed. You could be doing something else. You get to do what millions would love to do. Yet, you act ungrateful. You behave like doing this is a chore.
I can’t go pretending to know what’s on your mind. It’s dangerous. I don’t know what you are going through to do that.
I do want you to be happy. I do want you to realize you have it good. I want you to be grateful that you are playing in the NBA and you still have the skills.
It just seems like you are wasting it all away. You are supposed to be in the prime of your career right now. You still have so much to offer at 30. You can still be a difference maker with the Nets.
Durant latched his career to yours, thinking you could help him win many championships after leaving Golden State for the Nets. Yet, he has yet to win anything with the Nets, and he witnessed Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green win another championship without him this spring. Don’t you think you owe it to Durant to go out and play hard and win a ring for him? Is this even your priority? Based on being a part-time player last season, it sure wasn’t.
Durant has every reason to be bitter towards you. He may not show it publicly because you are such a sensitive figure to the point you may lose it altogether. But his frustration towards the Nets has to do with you, too. Whether you know it or not, it’s another story. Whether you care or not, that’s also another story.
But for his own good, can you try to pretend you like basketball and that you enjoy it here for this season? Is it too much to ask? The Nets did all they could to accommodate you yet you insist on being a pain in the posterior. I have no idea why you are ungrateful. It seems like something is wrong with you. I wish you and I can hang out and figure it out together.
From what I read in the preseason, you have caused no problems. You have been a gentleman by going to work and being a sage to your young teammates. You go to work and say nothing. Good for you.
I hope it lasts, but with you, no one knows. You change your mind like the wind. You are so combustible. You are a tough nut to crack.
Know this, Kyrie. You are in your final year of your contract. My guess is that this is your last year as a Net one way or another.
If you are going to leave as a Net, make it memorable in a good way by leaving as a champion than a chump.
This writer can be reached on Twitter at: @LeslieMonteiro6
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