Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving had been planning to play together for years and originally targeted the Knicks over the Nets, per Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck. The big question was what city they would eventually land.
Initially, Irving and Durant discussed joining forces with the Knicks. Irving, who was raised in New Jersey, liked the idea of playing close to home. Durant, who was launching a media company in New York, liked the potential synergy, as well as the chance to be closer to his family in Maryland.
But that plan quickly lost steam as the Knicks lost their way. New York won just 17 games with a haphazard roster and a collection of underachieving young prospects. The Nets, meanwhile, were exceeding all expectations, eventually winning 42 games and capturing the sixth seed in the East.
What happened to Irving and Durant’s plans to head to the Knicks? Simply put, the Nets became the far more appealing option thanks to a more talented roster, a playoff birth and a strong front-office run by Sean Marks. Beck reported that the two ditched the idea of playing together with the Knicks, and Durant “never” considered playing at Madison Square Garden as a solo act.
By the time the playoffs arrived, the outline of a plan was set. Although rival executives widely believed Irving and Durant were headed for the Knicks, the two stars had in fact veered away from that idea months ago, the source said.
Once Irving locked on Brooklyn, Durant was almost certain to join him. He never considered going to the Knicks alone.
KD’s Former Teammate Kendrick Perkins Said It “Was Time for Him to Leave Golden State”
Former teammate Kendrick Perkins remains close to Durant and praised the move to Brooklyn. Perkins noted to USA Today that it was “time for him to leave Golden State.”
“Finally, he got his own team,” Perkins told USA Today. “It was time for him to leave Golden State…I love it for KD. It’s great for KD and Kyrie to be in the New York area. I have no doubt they will co-exist. Kyrie needs to be able to play freely and just be himself and let KD be the leader and the playmaker. I think Kyrie will fall in line. After he left Cleveland he called ‘Bron to apologize to him. He realized that he is not that dude and that he needs to play alongside a guy like KD.”
There Was a Perceived “Lack of Respect” From the Warriors
The bigger question is whether Durant signed with the Nets to play with Irving, or because things ended poorly with the Warriors. There have been some rumblings that Durant was not pleased with how Golden State handled his injury. A source close to Durant told The Undefeated that the Warriors showed a “lack of respect” for Durant.
“All that showed a lack of respect for one of the greatest players to put that uniform on and the fact that he took all that abuse and still put his career on the line to help them win,” the source explained to The Undefeated.