Nets Hit With Truth Bomb About Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant’s Relationship

Andre Drummond Calls Nets Next Two Games Must Win

Getty Andre Drummond #0, Kyrie Irving #11 and Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets react in the first half against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center

The Brooklyn Nets inked All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to a max contract in 2019 with the hopes that he and Kevin Durant would be cornerstone pieces of the future. But after three seasons and no appearances in the conference finals, Kyrie’s time in Brooklyn could already be in its final stages.

On June 20, NBA Insider Shams Charania of “The Athletic” reported that Irving and the Nets hit an ‘impasse’ on talks of a new deal. However, many expect he will return to the Nets next season even if he does opt-out of his contract and test free agency. This is mainly due to his relationship with Durant. But ESPN’s Nick Friedell says that the relationship between the two Nets stars is not what it appears to be.

“At every turn publicly, [Kevin Durant] has been there to support [Kyrie Irving], to say we need Kyrie, to say Kyrie can win a title with me here in Brooklyn. But I can tell you, I’ve been talking to people in the organization the last couple of weeks, when they finally sit down and talk to Kevin throughout the summer, they are trying to figure out if Kevin saw what everybody else saw. … The reason that whole season got sidetracked was because they couldn’t count on Kyrie, and they didn’t know if he was going to be out there,” Friedell said on Sports Center on June 21 per NetsDaily.

“And the issue with Kevin is, he wants to win badly, he wants to be loyal to his friend. But I’ve been told that relationship, while very close, isn’t always as close as it appears to be.”

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Durant Will Make Final Call On Irving’s Future With Nets

Even though Irving played just 29 games with the franchise in 2022 after refusing to get the COVID vaccination, Durant was publicly supportive of his decision to remain unvaccinated throughout the season. But Friedell says Irving’s leash with the Nets is getting shorter and that whether or not he returns to the Nets will ultimately be up to the two-time Finals MVP.

“So that is a literal multimillion-dollar question here, not only in the next week as we figure out what Kyrie’s going to do with that player option but moving forward because they just don’t know if that is a dynamic duo that will hold long-term. They want to get a clear answer from Kevin,” Friedell continued.

“And we’ve talked about it for months: Everything in that Brooklyn organization revolves around Kevin Durant. If KD wants Kyrie back, he’ll be back. If KD signs off on ‘eh, I don’t know if it can work, I don’t know if I can trust him out there every night,’ then Kyrie may be elsewhere.”

Replacing Kyrie Will Be Nearly Impossible

The Nets and Durant may be exhausted with Irving, but the bottom line is that finding someone to replace him is about as close to impossible as it gets. Kyrie is widely regarded as one of the 15-20 best players in the NBA, and the other players in that realm are all inked to long-term deals.

The focus for the Nets has to be getting Irving to completely buy into the Nets next season. Him being available for every game he is healthy and able to play will be pivotal to Brooklyn’s success in 2023.

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