Kyrie Irving will miss the Brooklyn Nets’ next three games with a lingering shoulder injury, including a highly anticipated matchup against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on Wednesday — which would have been his first game back in Boston against his former team.
At least one former NBA star, however, thinks that Irving is faking in order to get out of the trip that was sure to draw a lot of hate from Celtics fans.
ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins — who spent 14 seasons in the league with the Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans Pelicans — broke out an extremely hot take via Twitter on the news about Irving’s injury on Friday night.
Kyrie looked at the schedule before the season started and planned this whole injury thing because he didn’t want to go back to Boston this upcoming week!!! He didn’t want that smoke in the Bean Town. Smh— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) November 23, 2019
Given Irving’s history with the Celtics, it’s easy to see why this take would come up.
Irving spent the past two seasons in Boston after he was traded to the Celtics from the Cavaliers, and publicly told Celtics fans that he was going to sign with the team again in free agency this past summer. He eventually reneged on that promise, however, and signed a four-year, $136 million deal with the Nets instead.
The 27-year-old was sure to be met with a loud chorus of boos at TD Garden on Wednesday, if nothing more, and understandably so.
Perkins’ take, though, seems to lack any substance whatsoever.
Irving has missed the last four games with a right shoulder impingement that he first suffered against the Utah Jazz earlier this month, and hasn’t practiced all week. He’s undergoing daily treatment, too, and Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said on Thursday that both Irving and their training staff doesn’t feel like he’s at the point where he can play yet.
Missing seven games in total while faking a shoulder injury seems like a lot of work to get out of a single game, especially when Irving is averaging an impressive 28.5 points and 7.2 assists per contest so far this year. If he actually did want to get out of it, there are surely easier ways out there to go about it.
Irving doesn’t have a history of skipping games against his former teams, either. He played in the Celtics’ season-opener against the Cavaliers in 2017, his first game with Boston after being traded away by Cleveland.
So unless Perkins knows something we don’t, his take simply reads like it’s coming from a bitter Boston fan still upset about losing Irving this past summer.
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