When Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving decided to leave their respective franchises to join forces on the Brooklyn Nets in 2019 free agency, many people thought they would be the NBA’s next great duo. Durant had the experience of winning a championship, as did Irving, and both are gifted in their abilities.
But despite having all the necessary tools to succeed, the Kyrie, KD pairing has not panned out well. The Nets were perceived to have the assets to be top title contenders for the distant future, but to this point, they have not even made it out of the second round.
To pour even more salt in the wound, Kevin Durant has made his trade request known to the franchise and already seems to have one foot out the door. And the widespread belief is that if Durant leaves town, Irving’s wagon won’t be too far behind his. Especially because he will become a free agent this summer. But ex-Nets guard Jamal Crawford isn’t ready to rule out the possibility of the stars reconciling with the franchise and returning next season.
“For them, I don’t know. I could easily see them coming back,” Crawford said to Landon Buford. “But everything is so fluid in the NBA, and things change fast. So, whether they come back or not, I want them to be happy. They both are friends of mine, and they both care deeply about people & basketball.”
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Crawford Attributes Bubble Injury to Nets Training Staff
Crawford, now officially retired, has not played in the NBA since the 2019-20 season when he joined the Nets for the NBA restart inside the Disney Bubble. Unfortunately for Crawford, his stint with the Nets was a short-lived one, as he injured his hamstring in his first game with the Nets. That injury, in theory ended his career as he was ruled out for the rest of the season and would never play again.
Crawford says that injury was ultimately caused by Brooklyn’s training staff and took place before he ever took the court for the Nets.
“When I got hurt with the Nets, I didn’t get hurt on the basketball court. I got hurt in the weight room before that, and that’s what triggered the injury. And I did not want to be the high-maintenance veteran coming to a team like everybody lifts, but I’m not going to lift. I’m like I’m in the bubble, and I am happy to be here,” Crawford said per LandonBuford.com.
“I’m going to do what you guys ask, I don’t lift, but hey, I’m going to try it. That’s where the injury started and so, the injury on the court against Milwaukee, it happened a week and a half before that in the weight room. And they knew that by the way.”
Nets Could Be Among Top Contenders With KD and Kyrie
The Nets came into last season as the favorites to win the 2022 NBA title, and this year nobody knows what the future holds for the franchise as a decision on their franchise player looms loudly. And although the Nets front office is far from faultless in this saga with Durant and Irving, one thing that can’t be denied, is that they have done a great job re-tooling their roster after suffering key losses in Andre Drummond and Bruce Brown.
Brooklyn has made additions in TJ Warren, and Royce O’Neale, and brought back key role players such as Nic Claxton and Patty Mills, who were both restricted free agents heading into the offseason.
Couple that with the fact that Joe Harris, Seth Curry, and Ben Simmons will be returning with a full bill of health, a Kyrie and KD return could make the Nets contenders for this year’s title.