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Kyrie Irving trade talks dormant as Brooklyn Nets star continues to sit out

Friday’s outing against the New Orleans Pelicans will represent the 13th consecutive game Kyrie Irving has missed for his Brooklyn Nets to open the 2021-22 NBA season.

As you likely already know, Irving remains sidelined due to local New York City COVID-19 mandates that require individuals be vaccinated to attend large-scale indoor events.

New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams noted recently that he has no plans to change the mandates heading into the winter. As for Kyrie Irving, he’s made it clear that remaining unvaccinated has more to do with personal choice than anything else.

So, where does this leave the NBA champion and his team? Nothing has really changed on this front since Brooklyn’s brass indicated it wouldn’t let Irving play away games while the mandates prevent him from taking part in home outings.

The backdrop here is rumors surrounding Irving and a potential trade. Even before his COVID-19 vaccine stance became public record, other teams had cooled in the enigmatic personality.

“For the most part, every front office and coaching staff is scared to death of him and doesn’t want to touch him,” an unnamed NBA executive told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. “Honestly, it might’ve been four teams before this (his refusal to get vaccinated). He’s a guy that front offices don’t trust. Coaches don’t want to deal with him. Players like him.”

This falls in line with previous reports indicating that Irving just doesn’t have too much trade value right now. Remember, drama was the name of the game between the NBA champion and his Nets over the course of the guard’s first two seasons with the team. That’s obviously been taken to a whole new level.

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Who might have interest in a Kyrie Irving trade?

Kyrie Irving trade market dormant
May 30, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles the ball in front of Boston Celtics forward Jabari Parker (20) during the second half of game four in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Naturally, the Philadelphia 76ers would make sense given their equally drama-filled situation involving star guard Ben Simmons. In fact, previous suggestions were that Philly front office head Daryl Morey had put in a call to Brooklyn about an Irving-for-Simmons swap.

On the court, the fits are rather obvious. Simmons would work extremely well in Brooklyn with Kevin Durant and James Harden. He’d be able to man the power forward position, which is a spot many teams feel he’s more suited for than point guard. The Nets also aren’t lacking from a shooting perspective and need some help on defense.

Related: Find out where Kyrie Irving ranks among NBA’s top-50 players

As for Philadelphia, acquiring more shooting to team up with the likes of Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Seth Curry should be in the cards ahead of the NBA trade deadline. When it comes to a potential deal, this is pretty much the only option according to one executive around the Association.

“I would’ve said Philly legitimately made sense with the swap of Ben Simmons and Kyrie,” one of the executives told HoopsHype. “That’s a team I could’ve seen who’s going for it and needs a scoring guard. That’s literally the only one I could see.”

Kyrie Irving’s volatile personality coupled with his expensive contract has led to a dormant trade market. Add in the COVID-19 issue, and that’s been magnified further.

It’s a crying shame given that he’s coming off a career-best performance that saw the still-young 29-year-old guard average 26.9 points, 4.8 rebound and 6.0 assists while joining the 50/40/90 club.

Without Irving in the mix, Brooklyn finds itself at 8-4 on the season. The team is still considered a top-end title contender back east. But it is no longer the odds-on favorite without the star guard on the court.