They went to three straight NBA Finals from 2016 to 2019 and won two titles. How many more would they have won had Durant stayed with the Warriors and not left in 2019 to play with the Nets? There will always be a “what if.”
Now one NBA pundit and Durant have exchanged words on Twitter about Durant’s legacy.
“If [the Nets] do not win a championship. … Kevin Durant is on the verge of being recognized more so for the guy that left Steph Curry to go with Kyrie Irving than he is for the two chips and two finals MVPs,” Smith said to Malika Andrews on the February 3 episode of “NBA Today.”
Durant had just a one-word response to Smith’s claim. “Egregious.”
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Smith: ‘Those Will Be the Headlines’
The Nets have been unable to reach the NBA Finals with its collection of three superstars – and the clock may be ticking on their opportunity to do so.
Harden, 32, is the subject of trade rumors, and Durant, who sprained his MCL on January 15, is expected to be out of action for four to six weeks, according to ESPN. Meanwhile, the recovery of Joe Harris, who averaged 11.3 points per game for the Nets before injuring his ankle on November 14, has hit a snag. Brian Lewis of The New York Post reported on February 3 that Harris’ agent said Harris could need another surgery on his ankle.
After Durant responded to Smith’s initial take about Durant’s legacy, Smith replied to him February 4 to elaborate.
“It’s absolutely Egregious, [Kevin Durant],” Smith tweeted. “Totally wrong and unfair to the highest degree. But it also happens to be true. Those will be the headlines all off-season. I’m not saying it’s fair at all because it’s not. You deserve better. But those will be the headlines. You can book it!”
Harden, Kyrie Sound Off on Nets Issues
The Nets will travel to Utah on February 4 to take on the Jazz with hopes of snapping a six-game losing streak. Brooklyn is 29-22 and in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Irving, 29, said he is not ready to wave the white flag just yet.
“I wouldn’t call it issues. We don’t want to make it bigger than just figuring out how to win a basketball game, cement that blueprint, and then being able to follow that game after game,” Irving said February 3 after the Nets’ 112-101 loss to Sacramento Kings. “This is a growth period that we’re in, and that’s the way I see it.”
“Keep chipping away a day at a time. That’s all you can do,” James Harden told reporters after the Kings game. “Come together closer, even tighter. It’s definitely frustrating. It’s definitely difficult but we got to find a way to get out of it as a group.”