Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are one of the more unique pairings in today’s NBA. Durant is a 7-foot guard with his ability to score, handle the ball and get his teammates involved on the offensive end. His offensive abilities, coupled with Irving’s wizardry with the basketball, and his ability to drop buckets in bunches at any given moment, has made them one of the NBA’s most feared duos.
But talent alone has proven it is not enough to get the Brooklyn Nets over the hump since Irving and Durant joined forces. The All-Star Duo has failed to make it out of the second round of the playoffs. And after a first-round sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics, questions have been raised on if Irving and Durant are compatible enough to win a championship in Brooklyn. Analyst Colin Cowherd says that there is friction among the two superstars as Durant wants out of his pairing with Kyrie.
“KD wants out of Kyrie but he won’t say it publicly,” Cowherd said during an episode of “The Herd”.
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Nets Would Be Open to Sign and Trade for Irving
Irving only played 29 games for the Nets this past season after he refused to get the New York City mandated COVID-19 vaccination. But the Nets gave leeway to Irving based on what he could contribute on the court come playoff time. And in their first-round matchup with the Celtics, his numbers were subpar as he averaged just 21.3 points and 2.9 turnovers per game.
Irving’s reoccurring absences, coupled with the Nets lack of on-court success, have all been factors in Brooklyn’s reluctance to offer him a long-term extension. This summer, Irving can opt out of the final year of his deal and become a free agent. Ian Begley of SNY notes that if that does happen, the Nets would be open to a sign and trade.
“Irving opts out and the Nets have trouble finding common ground with the seven-time All-Star, opposing teams believe the club will be open to exploring trades of Irving,” Begley writes.
“It makes sense for Brooklyn to keep all of its options open on Irving and all other players on the roster outside of Durant. Still, if Irving opts out, logic says that the most likely outcome is that he returns to the Nets with a new contract. Irving would have to agree to a sign-and-trade and the Nets would have to feel that the return on the trade made sense for them. They’d also have to take back a significant amount of salary.”
Clock Is Ticking for Durant and Kyrie
Irving and Durant came to Brooklyn in 2019 to build their own championship culture, but so far, that plan has failed tremendously. After two consecutive years of being the title favorite, the Nets have failed to even make it to NBA Finals. With Durant and Irving both transitioning into the backend of their careers, the time is ticking for them to deliver Brooklyn a championship.
It doesn’t help that young teams such as the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, and Milwaukee Bucks are right there in the East, standing in the way of Brooklyn securing a Finals berth. But the bottom line is that the Nets are better off with Irving. And if they are going to be serious title contenders, Kyrie will be a major part of it.