NBA Executive Sounds Off on Kyrie Irving Following Durant News

Kyrie Irving

Getty Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets reacts in the second half against the Miami Heat

Kevin Durant news again took the league by storm on Monday after the August 8 report from Shams Charania of The Athletic. The reporting indicated that Durant in a meeting with the Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai, he reiterated his desire for a trade. The meeting also featured an ultimatum that if Tsai wishes to keep the superstar, he would have to part ways with general manager Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash. 

The reaction wasn’t well received by the NBA, especially those in front offices. One person in an NBA front office told Heavy’s own Steve Bulpett that he was ‘livid’ with the latest occurrences in the Durant saga with the Nets. 

“Livid,” he said. “Livid. He and Kyrie (Irving) basically told Sean they were coming (as free agents in 2019), and Sean did pretty much everything they wanted after that. Signing DeAndre Jordan for four years? That’s something Kyrie and KD wanted. Getting James Harden? Then getting a guy who should be a perfect complement to them (Ben Simmons) when Harden wanted out? Sean did all that,” the executive said. “And now KD doesn’t like how it’s all worked out?” 

However, the unnamed executive also told Bulpett that Durant steer his criticism to, being a teammate rather than Sean Marks. 

Kyrie Irving Responsible for Some of the Blame

When discussing his frustrations with Durant, the executive noted another place where Durant could point the blame rather than Marks or Nash. 

“And now KD doesn’t like how it’s all worked out? There’s probably some other people he should talk to about that, maybe even a teammate,” he said, acknowledging that he was referring to Irving.” Bulpett wrote

All along the line, Irving has been a constant cause for contention in Brooklyn. Shortly after he and Durant chose Brooklyn as the place they wanted to team up on the point guard forced out their head coach Kenny Atkinson. He also hinted at retiring around the time of the NBA bubble. Then when you take into account his stance with the COVID-19 vaccine and how his contract negotiations went this summer, a portion of the blame should be geared toward Kyrie. 

The Nets this season had a pretty deep roster. Durant, Irving, James Harden, Joe Harris, Bruce Brown, Nic Claxton, and more. Then Durant got injured, and Harden had to carry the team in the absence of KD and Irving due to his vaccine decision. During that time is when Harden became frustrated in Brooklyn and ultimately forced his way out in a trade to Philadelphia. Then began the Ben Simmons saga in Brooklyn. 

After everything with Harden, the Nets dropped down in the rankings and found themselves limping into the Easter Conference play-in tournament and ultimately, a first round sweep against the Boston Celtics. 

Irving Vaccine Stance

Irving only played in 29 regular season games for the Brooklyn Nets last season after refusing to be vaccinated, causing him to miss Nets home games due to New York City’s vaccine mandate. Due to his missed games, the Nets finished 9 games back from first place in the Eastern Conference and 4 games away from a top-five seed in the playoffs. 

Had Irving played, would they have fared better this postseason with better seeding? Durant seems to be pointing the finger at Nash and Marks, but their decisions were altered by the decisions of Irving on multiple occasions. Irving is a big part of Harden wanting to leave. His truancy prevented the Nets from truly gelling as a team, and it didn’t set up their young head coach the ability to develop consistency in his game plans with the frequent absences. 


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