The question surrounding the Brooklyn Nets this summer is, will he stay or will he go?
Durant requested a trade a few weeks ago, and Irving is reportedly intent on forcing his way to the Los Angeles Lakers, either via a trade soon or through free agency next offseason.
The Nets seem to be in limbo, as trade talks regarding both players seem to be quiet or at least dormant, but no one seems sure whether either of them really wants to stay with the team.
Does Durant want out because Irving wants out, because he wants Irving out, or for some other reason?
This is where Irving could salvage the entire situation.
If he could patch up any differences he and Durant may have, perhaps Durant would take back his trade request, and the Nets could run it back and make at least one more attempt at winning it all.
Is There A Way To Save The Durant-Irving Tandem?
Reportedly, the Nets are focused on trading Durant first before they attempt to trade Irving.
Woj: "The Nets right now are focused on a trying to find a Kevin Durant deal. I would be surprised if they did a Kyrie Irving trade, even if they do one at all, before they figure out what Kevin Durant's future is."#NBATwitter pic.twitter.com/5FVokb8jIe
— 𝙏𝙖𝙡𝙠𝙞𝙣’ 𝙉𝘽𝘼 (@_Talkin_NBA) July 18, 2022
However, Brooklyn apparently wants a king’s ransom for Durant, and no other team is willing to give up tons of capital for a 34-year-old who, although he may be the best player in the game, is injury-prone.
After tearing his Achilles three years ago, Durant has played in just 90 contests over the past two seasons, and even if he remains healthy from here on out, no one knows how many good years he has left.
Some people think that Durant has asked to be traded because he wants Irving off his team.
"There is a school of thought speaking to people around the league that they think the Kevin Durant trade request wasn't actually about him getting out of Brooklyn, it was about getting Kyrie Irving out of Brooklyn."
ESPN's Dave McMenamin on The Lowe Post. pic.twitter.com/Ae4WClbcOv
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) July 19, 2022
If there is any truth to that, the two franchise pillars should have a man-to-man talk and see if they can resolve the issue.
Yes, Irving’s flaky nature is very frustrating, and his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19 was a major reason why the Nets grossly underachieved this past season.
But he is a remarkable player who raises the ceiling of his team when paired with another superstar who is a leader, such as Durant or LeBron James.
After all, Durant and Irving decided to join the Nets together in the first place – they didn’t become teammates because management wanted to trade for one or both of them.
The Nets Still Have Lots Of Potential With Them
Unless a new variant arises that renders current vaccines completely effective, Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated shouldn’t come into play anymore, unless he contracts COVID-19 and has to miss more than a bit of time, or misses a key playoff contest.
He and Durant are arguably the best duo in the game, and certainly the most skilled one.
But now the Nets also have All-Star Ben Simmons, and if he is willing to recommit to playing basketball, he could give Brooklyn some of what it has lacked.
Simmons is an elite and versatile defensive player, a great ball-handler and facilitator who is deadly in the open court and a good rebounder.
If they can come together again and commit as a group, the sky could be the limit for them this coming season.