Kyrie Irving demanded a trade on Feb. 3, at which point the Brooklyn Nets were 31-20 despite Kevin Durant having been one of the lineup for several weeks. They'd won 18 of 20 games when the team announced Durant had sprained his MCL in January, but, after Irving's contract-extension negotiations went south, the star guard decided he didn't want to be on this particular title contender any longer.
Less than two months later, Irving, now a member of the Dallas Mavericks, told reporters Wednesday that he "didn't get a chance" to finish the season in Brooklyn, so he's needed to adjust his goals. (The Mavericks are 37-40 and 11th in the West; they've lost five of their last six games and have gone 8-14 since Irving's arrival.)
The quote, via ESPN:
I didn't expect to ask for a trade at that point in the season. So I wanted to finish out with Brooklyn, finish out with the season that we had going and I didn't get a chance to do that. So some of the goals I had previously this season had to be shifted, and I had to be more than willing, which I am, to be flexible and adaptable and live with the results, whether we make the playoffs or not. I just have to be at peace with where I am and which I am, and trust of the guys that I'm going to be in that war room with every single day. So, I'm appreciative of them giving me the opportunity. It's been nothing but great here. And I've been at peace. So it's been good, outside of the losses, of course. We'd like to win every game.
So: Irving demanded a trade, got his wish and, when this led to the Nets trading Durant, said,"I'm just glad that he got out of there." Then he said that he (like Durant) wanted to finish the season in Brooklyn and wasn't afforded the chance.
This is a stunning way to frame it. But it's also not that stunning. Irving can say in one breath that he asked for a trade and in the next that he wanted to stay because he believes the Nets did him wrong. As soon as he got to Dallas, he said that he felt "very disrespected" at times in Brooklyn and was "not given transparency and honesty from people in the front office." He was, according to Turner Sports, so insulted by a stipulation in a contract offer that, if the Nets had turned around and offered him a full max contract, he would have declined. He even considered sitting out the season if he wasn't traded, according to the New York Post.
In other words, Irving's perspective is that the Nets took something from him, not the other way around. That's a tough sell. It may be true that he had no intention of asking out before the extension talks, but if he wanted to finish the season in Brooklyn badly enough, he could have done so.