Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
In a post on Instagram earlier this week, Kyrie Irving shed some light on his decision to sign with the Brooklyn Nets.
"In my heart I always knew I wanted to play at home. Home is where my heart is," he said in the video posted to his account. "….Home is where my family is. Home is where I want my legacy to continue. I'm happy to be in Brooklyn."
Irving, who grew up in West Orange, N.J. and attended high schools in Montclair and Elizabeth, was a Nets fan growing up.
So it makes sense that he would choose to sign with Brooklyn. Irving had also considered the Knicks as a destination, but he was telling people after the season that he'd decided to sign with Brooklyn.
Sometime after the Celtics were eliminated from the playoffs, Irving told at least one Knicks fan who asked him about playing at the Garden that he was planning to sign with Brooklyn, citing his Nets fandom, per SNY sources.
But childhood nostalgia probably wasn't the only reason that Irving ultimately signed with the Nets. Irving may choose to share his reasons for joining Brooklyn during his introductory press conference, or he may not.
But it would be interesting to hear all of the factors behind his decision to sign with Brooklyn over the Knicks and other suitors.
Something that factored into Irving's thinking? He looked at his suitors - including the Knicks - from the 'top down', according to one source - and determined that the Nets were the best fit for him.
Brooklyn, of course, made the playoffs last season. The Knicks were coming off of a 17-win season. So, if winning in 2019-2020 was a priority for Irving, signing with the Nets instead of the Knicks made sense. It's unclear how interested the Knicks were in Irving once Kevin Durant suffered his Achilles injury. But it's logical to assume they would have signed him if they knew it meant also landing Durant.
Irving's decision clearly factored in to Durant signing with the Nets. Jay Williams, who is close with Durant, cited that as a factor in a recent interview on The Lowe Podcast.
The Nets signed Irving, Durant and DeAndre Jordan shortly after the beginning of free agency. They also added Garrett Temple and Wilson Chandler. If all goes well - and depending on where Kawhi Leonard decides to play next season - the Nets could be fighting for a seed in the top half of the Eastern Conference.
After missing out on Durant, the Knicks signed Julius Randle, Reggie Bullock, Wayne Ellington, Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson. It's silly to try to forecast these things in July, but it seems safe to say New York would have to overachieve to earn a playoff berth.
So Irving's decision to play for the team he grew up rooting for certainly changed the immediate trajectory of both local teams.