Scottie Pippen Once Trashed Kyrie Irving for Joining Nets and Not LeBron James’ Lakers: “Bad Teams Find a Way to Lose”

Published 01/25/2022, 4:35 PM EST
Feb 18, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) drives to the basket between Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23), Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso (4) and Los Angeles Lakers center Montrezl Harrell (15) during the second quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Most fans saw 2020 as the year of the superstar duos in almost every team. From LeBron James-Anthony Davis, Paul George-Kawhi Leonard, James Harden-Russell Westbrook, and others in the Western Conference. To Giannis and Middleton, Durant and Irving, Tatum and Brown, and several others in Eastern Conference. It seemed like the league was extremely balanced on paper.

However, it was a recurring discussion among analysts that Kyrie Irving should not have joined the Brooklyn Nets. Among those who felt Kyrie should’ve reunited with LeBron because of their chemistry, was the NBA Legend Scottie Pippen. Kyrie Irving had recently requested a trade and joined forces with an injured Durant in Brooklyn. Nevertheless, Pippen felt Irving would’ve been better off joining LeBron and Davis in the Lakers.

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Scottie Pippen felt Kyrie should’ve joined LeBron James in Lakers

Before the beginning of the 2019-20 season, right after Davis’ trade to Lakers was confirmed, it was a matter of discussion on ESPN’s The Jump if Lakers should sign another star. Scottie Pippen strongly disapproved of Kyrie using his trade request to join what Pippen felt was the wrong team for him.

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving (2) and Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James (23) return to the locker room after defeating the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, June 13, 2016. Cleveland defeated Golden State 112-97. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) (Photo by MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images)

He said, I still think that you know Kyrie over the last couple of seasons, I’ve seen a lot of things in his career. And I think the comfort that he has with LeBron. The familiarity, the opportunity to win a championship with AD as well. It makes it a no-brainer. Now, do you want to go to New York, be frustrated, and playing with losers pretty much.”

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He further added, “Well, bad teams find a way to lose. But at the end of the day, this is a great fit for Kyrie. I think it’s the opportunity for him to reunite with LeBron and get to the top of the NBA again.

What would this have meant for the NBA?

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While the Big Threes are a fairly recent strategy for roster building across the NBA, the Lakers could’ve had their Big Three in 2019 itself. If the Lakers would’ve signed Kyrie Irving, Durant would’ve possibly not left the Warriors. Since Kyrie had a lot to do with influencing his decision to join Nets.

Moreover, Westbrook and Harden‘s duo may never have separated to form what are the main two ‘Big Threes’ in the NBA (Nets and Lakers). So with one trade decision, Kyrie Irving could’ve changed the history of the NBA as we know it.

Oct 29, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) guard Russell Westbrook (0) and forward Anthony Davis (3) watch game action against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Moreover, he may not have had to face the issues that he does today in terms of his playing time. Since the LA vaccine mandate does not apply to the Crypto.com Arena, Kyrie might have been a full-time NBA player today. A lot would’ve changed across the NBA. Hence, Do you think the trio of Irving, Davis, and James could’ve taken over the league like a dynasty? Let us know what you think about it.

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Chaitanya Dadhwal

506 articles

Chaitanya Dadhwal is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Even though his journalism is driven by his desire to understand both sides of an argument and give a neutral perspective, he is biased towards Houston Rockets and Arsenal, and he has shown exactly how loyal he can be through tough times. Currently a Law student at Jindal Global Law School, he aims to have his own sports management firm one day and enjoys rap music during his time off.

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