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It's put up or shut-up time for Irving, KD in Brooklyn

 Kyrie Irving will need to show up and show out with the Brooklyn Nets this year if he's hoping to net the long-term contract he feels he deserves. 

Sean Marks and Joe Tsai were reluctant to dole out a mega deal for the talented superstar without assurances that he would be available and willing to play in the vast majority of games this year.

The contract standoff dominated the off-season chatter with Irving unexpectedly opting-in to his deal to stay with the Nets for at least the 2022-23 season.

All signs indicate that Irving is raring and ready to prove he naysayers wrong and let his play do the talking. Unfortunately for the superbly talented shooting guard, injuries, vaccine compliance issues and missing games for personal reasons have tarnished his reputation as one of the league's greats.

At age 30, Irving is approaching the prime years of his career and a crossroads where he'll either need to ball out or bail out with the Nets still setting their sights on an NBA title.

A disgruntled Kevin Durant has officially rescinded his trade request, but things can quickly go South for him and Irving if they don't start the season on a winning track. Durant's incessant tweeting and debating with fans makes for some entertaining drama, but if the Nets are a dysfunctional mess like they were a season ago, even the most staunch Durant and Irving supporters will start to turn on the dynamic duo.

Look for Irving to play inspired ball , but it still remains to be seen whether the commitment he's made to the team this off-season will stand the test of time and be sustained throughout the upcoming season. Durant is content enough now, but holding together a locker room with supersized, yet fragile egos will be a daunting task for Steve Nash and company.


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