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Bill Simmons claims Brooklyn Nets can only win title if Kyrie Irving stays out of trouble

Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets have catapulted themselves back into elite championship-contender status over the past month. They are currently on a 12-game roll and have won 16 of their past 17 games.

The mercurial point guard was suspended for eight games for linking and then failing to disavow a film/book that had anti-Semitic claims. Since his return to the lineup last Nov. 20, the Nets are 18-2, half a game behind the Boston Celtics for the NBA’s best record.

Bill Simmons, on his podcast, had this to say about the Nets’ suddenly surging title aspirations:

“It’s a really good team, but if they’re going to win the title, we’re gonna need five-and-half more ‘normal’ months from Kyrie. Do you trust it? Do you trust him not to cause more controversies and just be on his best behavior?

“I know he’s a free agent after this year but that’s the thing with these guys. We haven’t seen Kyrie stay normal really since 2017 for an entire season.”

The Brooklyn Nets’ turnaround has been incredible. They were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics and had another tumultuous offseason.

Kyrie Irving wanted out but due to a lack of suitors and several teams being hard-capped, eventually decided to remain in Brooklyn. A few days later, Kevin Durant demanded to be traded. Both have remained in Brooklyn and have been the biggest reasons why they’re playing their best basketball since the 2021 playoffs.

Brooklyn was 2-6 when former head coach Steve Nash was fired. Irving was then suspended before their match against the Washington Wizards on Nov. 4.

Since Kyrie Irving’s return, nobody in the NBA has been better or hotter than them.

The Brooklyn Nets still have trouble rebounding as they remain in the bottom three in that category, but they’re elite in other areas. They have the best shooting percentage in the NBA, second in 3-point efficiency and eighth in assists.

Brooklyn is also playing their best defense all season long. The Kyrie Irving can’t defend narrative is slowly dissipating. With him in the lineup, the Nets have crawled their way into the top 10 in defensive efficiency with 111.6 DRTG. They were squarely in the bottom five of the rankings earlier in the season.

Brooklyn Nets when Kyrie isn’t creating any drama off the court…

Brooklyn Nets when Kyrie isn’t creating any drama off the court…

“Uncle Drew” is a huge reason why the Brooklyn Nets are surging.

The Brooklyn Nets could still let go of Kyrie Irving even if they somehow win the NBA championship this season

Kyrie Irving is playing the final year of his contract with the Brooklyn Nets.Kyrie Irving is playing the final year of his contract with the Brooklyn Nets.
Kyrie Irving is playing the final year of his contract with the Brooklyn Nets.

Kyrie Irving’s contract with the Brooklyn Nets hasn’t changed. He is still in the final year of a four-year 136.5 million deal with no extension offered. Irving could still walk away from Brooklyn without the Nets getting compensation at the end of the season.

The seven-time All-Star reportedly wanted a five-year $250 million extension, a figure the Nets supposedly balked at due to Irving’s unreliability and health issues. An extension or a new deal, though, can be signed once the season is over.

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In the meantime, though, the Nets are keeping their cards close to their chest. They may just be monitoring how Irving plays and behaves until his contract expires.

The former Duke standout has been embroiled in controversy over the past few years. He could be on his best behavior as it is a contract year. The Nets will not be in a hurry to sign him to another huge contract even if they win the championship.

Here’s the full Bill Simmons podcast.

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Edited by Michael Macasero
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