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Ultimately, Kyrie Irving’s messy departure from the Boston Celtics for the Brooklyn Nets was about control.

That’s how Matt Sullivan, author of the new book Inside the Season of Protest, Pandemic, and Progress with the Brooklyn Nets’ Superstars of Tomorrow, explained it in an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich on Friday. The book chronicles, in part, the process that Irving and Kevin Durant went through to orchestrate their decisions to sign with the Nets. It started years before it was known that Irving intended to leave Boston, and even before the infamous viral video of Irving and Durant’s All-Star Game conversation came out.

Sullivan believes that Irving’s New York roots, and the idea that he could have more control over the Nets franchise and the city of Brooklyn than he ever could have over the Celtics or Boston, is what led to his decision.

“He wanted to build a house for his family and really control a franchise. I think Boston as a city, maybe, felt out of his grasp,” Sullivan said. “The conversation really dated before [the viral video] to two best basketball friends who really wanted to take control of a franchise. We’ve talked a lot about ‘player empowerment,’ and that probably had more to do with it than Bill Russell and him talking race in the ’60s and black history back in the gym in Seattle.”

Listen above for the full interview.

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