Although he is considered one of the best point guards in the NBA, Kyrie Irving has had a tumultuous relationship with every team he has played on thus far.
Now, after signing a free agent contract with the Dallas Mavericks, team owner Mark Cuban is defending the controversial player, calling him “misunderstood.”
According to The Dallas Morning News, Cuban was interviewed recently on SiriusXM NBA radio by Frank Isola and Justin Termine. The outspoken owner discussed why Irving was given a contract and why the New Jersey native loves basketball.
After being asked if he was concerned that Irving wouldn’t stay on the team after the season, he said, “Kyrie just loves basketball and loves going to games, so no, I wasn’t concerned about that. But we traded for him because we wanted him to be a long-term piece, you know? And I think Kyrie’s just misunderstood. Everybody sees all the noise and everything around him, but when you actually talk to him, I like him.”
Cuban was then questioned about Irving’s previous actions before leaving each team and if he anticipates the same outcome in Dallas.
“You know, it’s interesting because when I would watch Kyrie before he came to the Mavs, I didn’t pay enough attention to his relationship with other players,” Cuban was reported as saying. “And then, when he came to us after the trade, it was inevitable. After every game, there were multiple players walking up and hugging him. Not just giving him, you know, high fives, but like a real, honest-to-goodness, ‘I like you,’ hug. And when you talk to players around them, they would say the same thing. And when you talk to our players after he got there, [they] say the same thing, we love the guy. You know?
“And so it wasn’t a question of his relationship with players. And then when you get into it more, you know, as he matured, he’s had different relationships with different organizations, which is why, you know, (Jason) Kidd and I made an effort to really get to know him.”
“We traded for [Kyrie] because we wanted him to be a long-term piece”@mcuban tells @TheFrankIsola and @TermineRadio why the plan all along was to keep Kyrie with the @dallasmavs #MFFL pic.twitter.com/uzSqkRGkVe
Irving was traded by the Brooklyn Nets to Dallas last season, where he became a free agent. He recently re-upped with the Mavericks for $126 million over three years.
Source: Black Enterprise