When Kevin Durant announced that he would be joining Kyrie Irving on the Brooklyn Nets in the Summer of 2019 many people thought that the pairing could be extreme in one of two ways. It could be an epic failure or a huge success but there would be no gray area. Kyrie had a highly publicized exit from Cleveland and reportedly had locker room issues while he was with the Celtics. After an ugly exit from Boston, many people in the media began to paint Irving as a locker room cancer. On a recent episode of his new podcast The ETCs, Durant claims he was never worried about the chatter surrounding Kyrie.
Kevin Durant Gives Honest Take on Kyrie
“Kyrie is going to play a nice efficient game this year…all that other sh—that people talk about I was never concerned with that,” Durant said on The ETCs via NBA on ESPN. “Kyrie is going to play the right way and he’s going to do his best when he’s out there.” Durant and Kyrie may have been the best pairing in 2019 free agency when you look at the two situations that the stars were in during that season. To put it plainly, the situations were toxic.
KD was never bothered by the "talk" 🤝 pic.twitter.com/agQKlGpg5K
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 11, 2021
KD and Kyrie Were Both in Toxic Situations
The previous season Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and the Boston Celtics took LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to the limit during the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals. Kyrie did not play as an injured knee sidelined him for the latter part of the season and the entire playoffs. The discussion then became if the Celtics were better off without Irving and it reportedly soured his relationship with the organization.
During a game against the Los Angeles Clippers in the final year of Durant’s contract, the Golden State Warriors had a chance to win the game in the final moments of the fourth quarter. Durant can be visibly seen clapping at his teammate Draymond Green to give him the ball but Green looked him off and turned the ball over. When Green and Durant were on the bench they got in a very visible verbal exchange. Green reportedly told Durant that the Warriors did not need him to win. The Warriors would go on to lose the game in Overtime and never really recovered from that altercation.
It did not make the situation any better when Durant rushed back from a calf strain that he suffered in the Houston Rockets series to play in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. In the second quarter of the game, Durant tore his Achilles. There were murmurs that the Warriors had pushed Durant to come back for The Finals even though he had not fully recovered.
Within the first few minutes of the open 2019 NBA Free Agency, both Durant and Kyrie had agreed to join the Brooklyn Nets.
The KD and Kyrie Experiment Has Worked Thus Far
So far, the Durant and Kyrie and pairing has worked well, especially with the addition of James Harden. Kyrie has had a tremendous individual season as he is averaging 27.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game. The Nets as a team despite some bumps along the road are 15-12 and sit at third place in the conference. Despite what people’s opinion on Irving is the bottom line is that he can ball. Anybody who wants to win should want him on their team.