Brooklyn “Indefi-Nets” Bring No Clarity To Kyrie Irving Situation

Posted on: November 13, 2022, 03:54h. 

Last updated on: November 13, 2022, 03:54h.

Kyrie Irving will not be playing tonight when the Brooklyn Nets play the horror show also known as the Los Angeles Lakers. His “indefinite” suspension is now lasting longer than the minimum of five games originally stipulated, with Nets owner Joe Tsai saying the mercurial guard has come up short in the contrition department.

“He still has work to do,” Tsai told The New York Post on Saturday in Los Angeles. “He has to show people that he’s sorry. What’s important — and what people miss — is he only apologized after he was suspended.”

The Nets have agitated the NBA players’ union by setting what some players feel are overly onerous conditions in order for Irving to return, and an appeal of the suspension has been threatened. The lack of clarity from Nets leadership is not helping the situation, leaving everyone questioning how long this will continue. That’s while also distracting from the team’s recent success, going 4-1 without Irving while showing a level of defensive intensity that was missing when both he and former coach Steve Nash were part of the equation.

Brooklyn is favored by 4 1/2 points against a floundering Lakers team that sits in 14th place with a 2-9 record, and perhaps the most predictable thing is that LeBron James will weigh in on the side of Irving just as Jaylen Brown (a member of the union’s executive council) did Saturday night:

Do the Nets Really Want Kyrie Back?

That is a great question, and the team is simply not providing any clarity on where things stand for their fans, for the NBA as a whole and for the gambling public, and the story is not going away until there is some type of resolution. Things appeared to be trending toward peaceful late in the week. That’s after Irving met with commissioner Adam Silver and when Tsai tweeted that Irving is clearly not an antisemite. But Tsai’s latest comments indicated that the onus is on Irving to do more.

Exactly what Irving needs to do is unclear, and the Nets are not specifying. This is creating an information void that is not doing anybody any good. But at least the Nets are taking care of business on the court, their latest work of art a 110-95 takedown of the Clippers in the first of their back-to-back set at arena.

Brooklyn is 5-0-0 against the spread since Irving was suspended, and has gone under in all five, often by quite a lot. The “over” missed by 31 1/2 against Charlotte, by 26 against Dallas, by 23.5 against the Knicks, and by 7 1/2 against the Clippers. The Nets actually take a seven-game under streak into tonight’s game against the Lakers, with that line set at 218 despite Los Angeles allowing 216.4 points per game, more than all but six other teams.

Anything Enticing on the Board for Nets, Short- or Long Term?

The four wins in five games have put the Nets into a four-way tie for ninth place in the East with three other underachievers: Chicago, Philadelphia and Miami. Brooklyn is four games behind Boston for the Atlantic Division lead, and their odds to pass the Celtics by the end of the season and finish first in the Atlantic sit at +750. That’s while their crosstown rival Knicks — despite having a better record — are at +9000 to win the Atlantic. The Nets will not play the Celtics until Dec. 4 during a seven-game homestand.

Irving should be back on the roster by then … unless Tsai is being disingenuous with his tweets and is trying to put general manager Sean Marks in a better public position in order for Marks to move Irving in a trade. Forget whatever you read about Irving being untouchable. There is a place for him somewhere on a team desperate for an infusion of his type of talent, and tonight’s opponent — the Lakers — have been mentioned as a possible destination.

Kyrie to the Lakers? Is That Possible?

Los Angeles has several players who signed this past off-season and become trade-eligible on Dec. 15, and if they could put enough of them into a package, along with at least one of their two tradeable first-round draft picks, Irving could become a fourth superstar on a Lakers team whose payroll is primarily devoted to LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook, who just so happens to have the shortest odds of anyone in Sixth Man Award futures markets, priced Sunday at +170 at FanDuel.

Westbrook has been averaging 19.2 points and 8.3 assists this month. But he is still looking for his first triple-double of the season after having 10 last season, including four in a row to close the month of December.

Westbrook is on the board tonight at +1500 to triple-double, the same odds as Kevin Durant. Anthony Davis is +8000, as the Lakers are likely forced to play without James, who is listed as doubtful with a left adductor strain. But he will be in the building, as will Tsai, and it is not the worst wager ever that their paths will cross in some way, shape, or form and the matter of Irving will be discussed.

James has already been vocal on social media about the Irving situation.

We learned a long time ago that James is not the type to just shut up and dribble, to borrow a phrase.

What About El Lay?

The Lakers bring a five-game losing streak into this game and are on the verge of desperation. Tanking will not do them any good, as their draft pick is headed to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the price to acquire Davis more than years ago. So they are not getting into the Victor Wembanyana sweepstakes. They have been built to win now, but have not been doing much winning, missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2019.

Los Angeles begins the day with odds of +9000, which are long, but not as long as the odds on the surprising Utah Jazz (+16000), who started the day in first place in the Western Conference, a half-game ahead of Memphis and Portland. The bookmakers still feel the 11th-place Golden State Warriors (5-7) and eighth-place Clippers (7-6) have the best chance to be the last team standing coming out of the West. Both are +750 to win the championship, while the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics are cofavored at +500. Brooklyn is +1300 despite all the drama.

Draft Kings reported 78% of spread bets and 81% of moneyline bets coming in on the Nets, and 84% of over/under bets coming in on Brooklyn, spokeswoman Cassie Buontempo said at midday Sunday.


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