Nets HC Kenny Atkinson Disputes Kyrie Irving 'Mood Swings' Report

Alec Gearty
October 29, 2019 - 2:14 pm

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson disputed a report suggesting Kyrie Irving's behavior is already becoming a concern for team officials. 

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On Tuesday, ESPN's Jackie MacMullen reported Irving's "mood swings" is the "unspoken concern that makes Nets officials queasy" three games into the regular season. Irving is committed to Brooklyn for the next four years after he signed a $141 million contract in July.

Atkinson defended his superstar and shut down any reported conflict and concern the organization has with Irving. 

"That is completely false," Atkinson told reporters, via SNY. "Strictly speaking of my observation and experience with him so far, it's absolutely not true.

ESPN's report suggests Irving tends to stray away from the Nets organization and front office, shutting off communication from the team throughout his personal ordeals. He allegedly experienced the situation during the Nets' preseason visit to China. 

Nets' Spencer Dinwiddie says Irving didn't cause any problems for the team overseas, where MacMullen reported the Nets were left scratching their heads. 

"Quite frankly, I think the head scratching incident happened from someone on the Rockets," Dinwiddie told ESPN's Malika Andrews. "It had nothing to do with us."

Irving's history of issues in the locker room can be traced back to his time with the Cavaliers and Celtics. In 2017, he requested to part ways with Cleveland and demanded a trade elsewhere. He was sent to Boston for two seasons where, by the end of his tenure, there was reported tension between Irving the organization. 

Last week, Nets general manager Sean Marks told WFAN's Mike Francesa the team was "cautious" in signing Irving due to the recent conflicts regarding his behavior.

"Yeah. I think that's something we were pretty cautious of early," Marks told Francesa. "We didn't want to judge somebody without really getting to know them."

Kevin Durant, who joined Irving on the Nets during the offseason but has yet to play due to injury, reveals that Irving's approach is nothing out of the ordinary. He sees it on first-hand basis and cites his teammate's immense passion. 

"I look at Kyrie as somebody who is an artist," Durant told ESPN. "You have to leave him alone. You know what he'll bring to the table every night because he cares so much about the game."