Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving acknowledged the off court stuff affected the Brooklyn Nets' play this season. Brooklyn's season came to an end on Monday after the Boston Celtics claimed a 116-112 road win to complete to sweep the Nets in their first round series.
"I think it was just really heavy emotionally this season," Irving said after the game, per ESPN. "We all felt it. I felt like I was letting the team down at a point where I wasn't able to play. We were trying to exercise every option for me to play, but I never wanted it to just be about me.
And I think it became a distraction at times. And as you see we just had some drastic changes."
Irving: We lost James Harden, Ben Simmons wasn't ready to play
While Irving was available only for road games, Harden wanted out of Brooklyn.
The Nets traded Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers prior to the trade deadline and received All-Star guard Simmons in return. Simmons sustained a back issue when ramping up his preparation to return and he didn't suit up in a single game for the Nets since the trade.
"We lost a franchise player [in Harden] and we got a franchise player back [in Simmons]," Irving said. "But we didn't get a chance to see him on the floor. There was no pressure for [Simmons] to step on the floor with us either.
Ben's good. We have Ben, we have his back. He's going to be good for next year. But now we just turn the page and look forward to what we're building as a franchise and really get tougher. ... "That's why I said it's some added motivation when you get swept like this.
Didn't necessarily play as well as I would have liked, but now we just look for the future as a team and what we can accomplish for the next few years, and I get excited about that."