Kyrie Irving spoke to his teammates following his declaration earlier this week that the Brooklyn Nets have a "glaring" need to add more pieces, but he won't change his leadership approach to appease his critics.
"I reached out to make sure nothing was taken out of context - making sure that the guys knew exactly what I meant," Irving said Friday, according to ESPN's Malika Andrews. "And that is the only thing that matters. Everyone can say, 'If I was in this position, I would've said this, I would've done this.' They have no idea because they've never been at this level, so how could you even comment on it?"
Irving added he wasn't surprised that his comments drew attention as they circulated through the media.
"I can't really do anything about it except just really be a pillar in our locker room, be very communicative, and when I'm out there with the guys, just impact winning," Irving said, according to SNY. "That's really what it comes down to. It's not like I'm an asshole, yelling at everybody in the frigging locker room all the time - you hear all these stories."
Following the Nets' 117-106 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, Irving said the team would "do the best with the guys that we have in our locker room now," but made it clear that the team wasn't up to his standard.
Irving didn't back down Friday from the implicit suggestion that some of his current teammates should be jettisoned, but he insisted his leadership style is crucial to the pursuit of his second career title.
"There's still more goals I want to accomplish in the league, and I can't do it without improving an organization and winning a championship," Irving said. "And that's what it comes down to. I'm going to continue to push, I'm going to continue to demand greatness out of myself and demand greatness out of my teammates, and we go from there.
"If it's harsh as a leader or too much for anybody - you're not in our locker room, stay the f--- out. It's as simple as that."