Stephen Curry was totally surprised by Kyrie Irving asking for a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Except, not really.
Someone asked Curry about the situation while he hosted his SC30 Select Camp, because this is August, and this is honestly what we have to ask NBA players about until the regular season tips off. His response was simultaneously one of shock and understanding, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com):
“I don’t know the ins and outs of what conversations are going on. It’s obviously surprising, but at the end of day nothing’s really surprising when it comes to story lines and things like that from year to year,” Curry said. “It’s just kind of the nature of the beast. I’m sure if something does happen I’ll be able to talk about it more but right now he’s still on Cleveland’s team.”
Curry has been around long enough to know the NBA is unpredictable, and that there is predictability within this unpredictability.
The initial word on Irving was shocking. They Cavaliers had just been to their third straight NBA Finals. They won a title in 2016. They can essentially punch their ticket back to the championship round so long as LeBron James is healthy.
Who would want to leave that situation?
But then you begin to think about the circumstances—about how he’s 25 and never had his own team for more than a couple seasons, about how he’ll forever cede status to LeBron even if he’s not giving up touches, and about how the Cavaliers will plummet towards total ruin if the four-time MVP leaves as a free agent next summer.
It all makes sense upon further thought. That’s the NBA in a nutshell. We talk ourselves into something—like massive contracts for free agents this summer, or teams throwing in the towel because of the Golden State Warriors—only to see the opposite happen and understand it shortly thereafter. The Irving saga falls under this umbrella, as both cage-rattling and, a couple weeks later, not-at-all flooring.