Mavs Kyrie Irving Delivers Parting Message to Kevin Durant, Nets After Blockbuster Trade

Brooklyn Nets

Getty Kyrie Irving #2 of the Dallas Mavericks and Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets.

Former Brooklyn Nets – and current Dallas Mavericks star Kyrie Irving has no regrets.

“It’s water under the bridge now,” Irving said of his conversations with teammate and friend Kevin Durant about wanting a trade out of Brooklyn via Dallas News Mavs beat reporter, Callie Caplan. “I wish them well. I left them in fourth place. I did what I was supposed to do, took care of my teammates, was incredibly selfless in my approach to leading.”

Irving took a concerted approach to both saying and doing the right things once Durant went down with his MCL injury.

But the truth is he had not been much of a disturbance since returning from a team-imposed eight-game banishment for sharing a video deemed anti-semitic on social media earlier this season.

“Just getting out of my own way and really thinking team-first and putting my body on the line and then leading by example,” Irving said after Broolyn’s 117-106 road win over the Utah Jazz on January 20 that snapped the Nets’ four-game skid in the aftermath of Durant’s injury. “Every night I try to put myself in that place, in that zone. Specifically in the fourth quarter when it’s winning time. But I just think, the way we started off the game, it really made a difference tonight. And then, the way we finished, I really felt like we grew as a squad.”

Less than three weeks later, Irving is singing a strikingly different tune about his Nets’ tenure.

Kyrie Irving Followed James Harden’s Footsteps

Irving followed a similar model to former teammate James Harden whose Nets stint ended earlier than anticipated due to unreliability from Irving among other issues the 76ers star found unsettling.

That Irving has orchestrated an exit of his own after failing to do so this past summer – and after taking a shot at Harden no less – has not spoiled his relationship with Durant.

“We came together in about 2018, ‘19 – kind of when that Finals happened,” Irving said. “We weren’t coming together to plan what team we were going to go to but we just had goals together. And it wasn’t just as a duo. We were seeing ourselves as savants in the culture that we wanted to teach the youngins. And if we got some young guys that were willing to sacrifice and buy into what we got going on then we were going to flourish we felt. But it just didn’t work out.

“We still remain brothers. But it is a business at the end of the day, as we always say. And I got to look out for my family. And, ultimately I want to be at peace every time I come into work rather than things hanging over my head or wondering what people think about me in the building or whether a report is going to come out tomorrow that I don’t talk to my teammates which is untrue. I just felt like being in New York City, in the media capital of the world, it was so many things that leaked out that I don’t even know where they came from. I’m answering things that I don’t deserve and ultimately I don’t pay attention to that much. So, I’m just grateful that I got to move on and I’m here.”

Kevin Durant Followed Irving To Brooklyn

The greatest irony of all is that it was Irving who convinced Durant to come to Brooklyn rather than the rival New York Knicks after signing with the Nets outright himself as a free agent in 2019.

That move stripped the Nets of assets they had only begun to recoup before trading for Harden.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN reported that both Mavericks star Luka Doncic and head coach Jason Kidd – who along with Mavs general manager Nico Harrison has previous ties to Kyrie – pushed for the trade.

At the same time, reports of Durant’s reaction have ranged from surprised at the demand according to Heavy Sports NBA insider Steve Bulpett to “upset” in the aftermath, per MacMahon’s ESPN cohort, Brian Windhorst who adds that teams might be less willing to help Brooklyn upgrade around Durant in hopes the 13-time All-Star asks out once again.

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