Nets move on without Kyrie Irving, host Clippers

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets can move on without the distraction of Kyrie Irving hanging over them.

The Nets traded the guard on Sunday to the Dallas Mavericks, according to multiple reports, and they will host the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday knowing he is not coming back.

The Nets will receive guard Spencer Dinwiddie, forward Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2029 unprotected first-round draft pick, a 2027 second-round pick and a 2029 second-round pick, according to The Athletic. The Mavericks also received forward Markieff Morris in the deal.

Irving’s three-plus seasons with the Nets ended with him appearing in only 143 of 278 regular-season games as he missed games due to injuries, suspensions and lack of a COVID-19 vaccine. Coach Jacque Vaughn addressed Irving’s trade request on Saturday.

“I think you have responsibility as a basketball player like I do as a coach,” he said. “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.”

Irving didn’t play Saturday night, with the team citing calf soreness. Without Irving out and Durant missing a 12th straight game due to a sprained right medial collateral ligament, the Nets stormed back for a wild 125-123 victory — three nights after a 139-96 loss at Boston.

The Nets pulled off the comeback while only eight players were available as Ben Simmons (sore left knee) and T.J. Warren (left shin contusion) did not play and Seth Curry (left adductor) and Morris (sore left knee) were injured during the game as the Nets allowed 73 points by halftime.

One of the available players was Cam Thomas, who scored a career-high 44 points on 16-of-23 shooting while playing 29 minutes. Thomas scored 19 points in the fourth, capping the team’s comeback with a go-ahead three-point play with 12.2 seconds left.

“We’re all pros at the end of the day. It’s not like only two people can play,” Thomas said. “A lot of guys contribute and play and help at any time.”

The Clippers are 7-2 over their past nine games since losing nine of 11 from Dec. 29 to Jan. 18.

Six of those wins came on the road and four were by seven points or fewer, including Saturday’s 134-128 overtime victory over the New York Knicks. After squandering a 21-point lead in Thursday’s 106-105 loss at Milwaukee, the Clippers blew a 17-point lead to the Knicks, but Nicolas Batum hit a 3-pointer at the horn in regulation. Los Angeles scored 19 points in overtime by hitting 15 free throws.

“A lot of time we got stagnant,” Clippers star Kawhi Leonard said. “A lot of just isolations and it just kind of lets them rest a little bit on the defensive end.”

Leonard led the Clippers with 35 points and made six free throws in overtime. It marked the fifth time in his past eight games Leonard scored at least 30 points, and it came on a night when head coach Tyronn Lue only used eight players.

“We got to do better,” Leonard said. “Second night in a row we had big leads against these good teams and they’re coming back. They have fight in them and we have to be able to close them out.”

–Field Level Media

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x