Nets guard Kyrie Irving clarified comments he made earlier in the week and insisted he wasn’t pressuring the front office to make significant changes before next month’s trade deadline, Malika Andrews of ESPN reports. However, he did hint that changes need to be made in the long run in order to become a serious title contender.
Irving said on Friday that in his previous comments he was simply giving a forthright assessment of the team’s current plight. Brooklyn is four games below .500 and currently sits in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.
“I think we have championship aspirations,” Irving said. “Do we want to be the eighth seed going into the playoffs? The seventh seed? But you’re able to be real with the team that you have here, and you’re able to collectively, cohesively come together as a group. That is what you figure out. But the goals are still to win a championship. I don’t come in every day to be mediocre or to be in the middle of the standings.”
Irving told the media on Wednesday after back-to-back losses that the team’s weaknesses were “glaring” and that additional pieces were needed in order to reach the next level. At the time, Irving named Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan, Garrett Temple, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert as key pieces but left out other rotation players, including Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, and Joe Harris.
Irving spoke with teammates about those comments and said that failing to mention certain players was just an oversight on his part. However, he does believe the roster as currently constructed won’t be enough to put the Nets over the top.
“I reached out to make sure nothing was taken out of context — making sure that the guys knew exactly what I meant,” Irving said. “And that is the only thing that matters. Everyone can say, ‘If I was in this position, I would’ve said this, I would’ve done this.’ … The most important thing is making sure these guys — they have the belief in themselves and I continue to reiterate that confidence we have as a team. It is going to come down to that in order to be at a championship level to compete against the West, we need more.”