Kenny Atkinsion and the Nets defended Kyrie Irving after Tuesday's report by ESPN stated that the team was dealing with "mood swings" from the new star point guard, and the fourth-year head coach said more of the same 24 hours later.
Before the Nets (1-2) hosted the Indiana Pacers (0-3) for Wednesday's 7:30 p.m. ET tip-off at Barclays Center in New York, Atkinson was asked if the coach felt the need to speak with Irving about the report.
Atkinson, who called the report "completely false" Tuesday, doubled -- and tripled -- down Wednesday.
"No, that thing is two things," Atkinson said. "I stick (to Tuesday's comments) -- I'll double down or triple down on what I said. That's where I am. ... I know all these elite players -- not just Kyrie -- they're used to the scrutiny and that's just part of the business, so just what it is. But I didn't feel a need to talk to him about it."
On the court, Irving's debut with the Nets has appeared smooth. Irving expressed gratitude to play for his childhood team Oct. 23 after he dropped 50 points in the Nets' 127-126 overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In the subsequent two games' split between Oct. 25's 113-109 win over the New York Knicks and Oct. 27's 134-133 overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, Irving's first three games with the Nets set franchise and NBA records, totaling 113 points.
The Nets have struggled defensively with Irving among the new faces, but Atkinson has remained confident in the team as the players continue to get familiar and the comfort level rises over time.
"That's just part of the NBA. And especially with the guys that have been in the league, and now you add guys that have been in the league, like I said, championship-pedigree -- you have to work with them, that's just part of it," Atkinson said. "But in the beginning, it was the same with (former Nets center from 2008-17) Brook Lopez (during the 2016-17 season). Brook Lopez was like, 'Well, why are we doing this? Hey, wait a second, I've been doing this my way. I've been pretty good in this league.' And you're like, 'Yeah, well, we'd love for you to do this, this and this.' And Brook would still say, 'I'd like to keep this.' And of course, we'd say, 'Yes, I understand that.' I think it's a give and take ... I think it's a talk. I do think there's stuff that we really have some non-negotiables, like, 'Man, we really want you to do this.' And to that effect, there's been great buy in. But yeah, there is, that's part of the NBA with that give and take."