“If it wasn’t something to do with you mom or your kids, I can’t roll with that.”
Rasheed Wallace never pulls punches – verbally and, as many NBA fans know, physically – and he didn’t when giving Moose & Maggie that quote about Kyrie Irving’s absence from the Nets.
Irving missed seven games over a nearly two-week absence for “personal reasons” that began on Jan. 7, and while the Nets went 5-2 in that stretch, Kyrie’s sabbatical was no doubt a distraction that should have never been brought about in Wallace’s mind.
“You saying you need space or whatever – this ain’t the summertime, so for me personally, we gotta talk about that, bro,” Wallace told Moose & Maggie on Wednesday. “You have a job you’re still getting paid for, and you have an obligation to your teammates. He might’ve talked to the owner, or the coaches or his teammates, but it’s no excuse he shouldn’t have been there. I understand the whole thing with social injustice, and he has a promise to fulfill to George Floyd’s family and all, but you still have a responsibility to the team. We see him on Zoom meetings for politicians, it can’t be that serious for what you wanna sit out for.”
Kyrie only said “a lot of personal and family stuff” was the reason for his absence, which further leads to speculation about the exact nature of that. All good in some situations, as ‘Sheed noted, but it’s still the timing – and those two games the Nets lost while he was out – that could come back to haunt Irving and the Nets.
“You take those seven games off…if it comes the end of the season and you’re in a dog fight for position, you gonna take off then?” Wallace asked, before doubling down when asked how Irving’s teammates can trust him going forward: “That’s gonna be hard, because with him being the point guard, the leader on the team, your trust should be there. But now you’re talking about something different, because you weren’t there when they needed you. We could’ve wont his game or that game, but we didn’t because we didn’t have you.”
Irving will return Wednesday night in Cleveland, his original city of NBA residence, to officially kick off the Durant-Harden-Irving Big 3 era. You can listen to that on WFAN starting at 7 p.m., and you can listen to Wallace’s entire segment with Moose & Maggie below!