Details of how Brooklyn Nets All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving planned to join forces months before leaving their respective teams, back in 2019, will be revealed in an upcoming book, and it’s most likely not going to sit well with Boston Celtics fans.
The latest Celtics news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Celtics newsletter here!
According to author Matt Sullivan’s new book, “Can’t Knock The Hustle,” Durant and Irving met mid-season at Kyrie’s mansion in Weston, MA ahead of January 25’s Celtics-Warriors matchup at TD Garden.
Sullivan On Kyrie Irving in January 2019: ‘He’d Been Charting a Path Home’
It was inside Irving’s home, according to a specific passage in Sullivan’s book, where Kyrie revealed his plan to Durant.
“By the time KD arrived at his temporary mansion for their unfinished business, Kyrie had grown sick of creating a social distance from Celtics teammates for days at a time,” Sullivan wrote, per FoxSports.com. “Or else, as he was that month in January 2019, pointing fingers at them in public, especially around a loss in Brooklyn. He’d tried to stop internalizing the media’s misperception of his ego. He’d tried to be more present for his three-year-old daughter. To treat his job like a job.
“But self-care could begin professionally, on his own terms. He’d been charting a path home, by way of his boyhood team: the Nets.”
Kevin Durant On Kyrie Irving & Boston: ‘He Didn’t Like What His Situation Was’
January 2019 was a rough month for Irving and the Celtics. Tensions boiled over more than a couple of times during a memorable three-game road, including Irving arguing with teammate Gordon Hayward over the final play in a game against the Orlando Magic.
The Celtics finished the trip with an 0-3 record, which was topped off by a blowout loss — fittingly, at Brooklyn — against the Nets, which is the same game the book’s passage is alluding to.
“He didn’t like what his situation was,” KD later said, per Sullivan’s book via FoxSports.com. “And me either in Golden State. And it was just like, ‘Hey, man, let’s see how this would work. Let’s try it out.’ And DJ wanted to play with us to be that center for us that can kinda hold it down, and play for something, really — play for a team that’s going somewhere, not just keep moving around and bouncing around to leave.”
Kyrie Irving to Kevin Durant: ‘Life Became Way More Important Than Basketball’
For Irving, the tumultuous 2018-19 campaign started weeks after his infamous “If you guys will have me back” speech that Kyrie would soon regret. The passing of his grandfather sent him into a different space, according to Sullivan’s passage via FoxSports.com.
“Despite his misgivings about the racialized history of Boston sports fans, Kyrie had told the Celtics crowd that he wanted to re-sign for the long term at a fan appreciation event in the fall of 2018,” Sullivan wrote. “But three weeks after that, his grandfather died, sending Kyrie into a sudden spiral of depression for which he’d deeply regret not seeking therapy.
“From that moment, he would tell his old friend Kevin Durant, “life became way more important than basketball. Anything I was doing in basketball, I didn’t really care.”