We’re almost a month into the offseason after the Golden State Warriors beat the Boston Celtics in the 2022 NBA finals. However, the NBA never rests. The second the buzzer went off, teams and players began working on where they wanted to be playing next season. And through that, we got ourselves the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving drama.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving joined the Brooklyn Nets in the 2019-20 NBA free agency. Kyrie was leaving a Boston Celtics team after his relationship with the players deteriorated. Kevin Durant was also leaving the Golden Stat Warriors at the time. He had won what he needed to on his time in the Bay. But wanted to now focus on building his shattered legacy.
DUBS WIN pic.twitter.com/6lj7xZ8xuQ
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) June 17, 2022
Ironically, both teams that lost KD and Kyrie to Brooklyn played in the 2022 NBA finals whilst the Nets got swept in round 1.
Kevin Durant will stay on the Nets after Kyrie fails to find a new home
Kyrie Irving’s career since his time at Cleveland has fallen off a rock. He left to become his player, but never fully achieved that. In his 3 years on the Nets, he’s played just 103 games in the regular season. In this first season, he had to play without Durant who was recovering from a torn Achilles. However, due to his stand on the BLM movement, he sat out from the games in the bubble which cost them the playoffs.
In his 2nd season, the Nets got Durant back and traded for Harden. They were half a toe away from potentially winning the NBA title but showed great promise for the future. And in his 3rd season, due to his stand against being vaccinated, he was banned from playing in Brooklyn, for more than 1/2 of the games. The Nets were embarrassed by Boston who swept these ‘contenders’ in the first round.
Kyrie Irving was done with Brooklyn and wanted to leave. He notified the Nets that he will not pick up his player option and will leave in unrestricted free agency. However, when KD heard that, he was not pleased either and would leave the Nets if Kyrie did.
But Kyrie failed. He could not find a single team that he wanted and could offer him the contract he deserved. Even LA, at the maximum, could pay him only from the mid-level exception, 1/4th the value of the money, and he was ready to give up. Irving valued the money and picked up the player option.
This meant that he and Kevin Durant were both on the roster. Hence, KD did not request a trade. Players’ and managers’ dreams of seeing Kevin Durant on another team fully vanished.