The Brooklyn Nets got swept out of the NBA playoffs by the Boston Celtics on Monday night.
Given that this group came into the year with championship aspirations, obviously it was a disappointing conclusion to their season.
Part of the reason for the Nets’ woes was the fact that Kyrie Irving didn’t play for a giant chunk their 2021-22 campaign due to his refusal to get vaccinated.
On Monday, after his team’s defeat, Durant spoke at length about his relationship with Irving and how it was impacted by everything that transpired.
“I would love for him to play more,” Durant said of Irving.
“Life is way more important to me than that. I can’t be pissed off. I can’t end the friendship based on something like that. Our friendship is based off who we are as human beings. The basketball adds to it. If we don’t get along on the basketball court, we can easily talk it out as friends.”
When asked if what transpired hurt their friendship, Durant replied with a loud “hell no.”
Durant wanted Irving around more, but long-term – they’re fine.
“Yeah, yeah. Him not being around, wanting to be around,” Durant continued. “Having conversations, missing games, missing playing together. It was not much more I could do. It was out of my control. The best I could do was come to work and be me and make sure the situation in the building was right for everybody.”
That said, Durant did acknowledge that there were certain moments throughout the season where he wished Irving was there. Which seems to be backed up by tweets on his alleged burner account.
“I would be mad after a game, not having him out there,” Durant added. “Being triple-teamed or whatever, like Kai would definitely help tonight, but [mad at] him individually? Nah.”
Monday night was an evening of introspection for the Nets. It seemed like every involved understood they had failed on a massive level.
Irving’s comments about Ben Simmons, and the impact his absence played, largely spoke for themselves.
It will be interesting to see where all parties go from here.
— Game 7 (@game7__) April 26, 2022
If this group rebounds, comes back next season, and wins a title – obviously this year’s disappointing run will be forgotten.
But if history repeats itself in 2022-23, it will do irreparable damage to both Durant and Irving’s legacies.
A graduate from the University of Texas, Anthony Amador has been credentialed to cover the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and high school games all over the Lone Star State. Currently, his primary beats are the NBA, MLB, NFL and UFC.