Brooklyn got a steal when they acquired two elite players in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Now the only question is whether Durant and Irving can share the floor without butting heads.
Kyrie and Kevin are both known for their successes with other teammates as well as their failures.
Both players are notorious for having a mixture of relationships in the locker room. Some speak of the players glowingly, while others call them cancerous to the environment. Will Kyrie and Kevin be capable of bringing Brooklyn to new heights?
Kyrie Irving & the Cleveland Cavaliers
Kyrie left a championship winnning team, the Cleaveland Cavaliers, for reasons that caused many to shake heads. He made it clear that he no longer wanted to play with league superstar, Lebron James. And he wasn’t shy about leaving the franchise either.
Irving’s and James’ Cavaliers lost to Durant’s and Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors in the 2017 NBA Finals. Kyrie was traded to the Boston Celtics that offseason, by request.
The young 26-year-old phenom decided it was time to become his own man and be the head of a championship contender. Later that offseason, Kyrie had an interview with ESPN First Take and talked about why he thought it was time to move on. “I just felt it was best for my intentions to leave” Irving told the First Take Crew.
Kyrie & the Boston Celtics
With two season playing in a Boston uniform, Kyrie had his ups and downs with the green. The Celtics were faced with persistent chemistry issues. Frequent finger pointing and calling out ensued. Kyrie was put in a situation where he had to find a way to bring a group of young men together and lead them to being a top team in the NBA.
Unfortunately for Irving, he was never able to bring the team success. In 2018 the Celtics lost to Lebron James and the Cavs in 7 highly contested games during the Eastern Conference Finals. In 2019, they lost the Conference Semifinals to the Milwaukee Bucks in 5 games. Kyrie entered unrestricted free agency this summer. Offering him the opportunity to prioritize his career needs in a huge way.
Many outsiders believed that Irving was on his way out of Boston before the season began. “The Celtics can’t wait for Kyrie Irving to leave and will help pack his bags” says ESPN Analyst Jalen Rose on Get Up! Although, prior to a preseason game in TD Garden, the Celtics players sat down around the court to talk to the fans. While they were talking, Kyrie explained to the crowd that he did have intentions on re-signing with the Celtics by the end of this season.
Kyrie Leaves the Celts
“If you guys plan on having me back, I plan on re-signing here” Irving explained to the crowd gathered to watch the Celtics pre-season workouts. At times he even gave off the impression that it was exciting to play with young teams and for the young Boston coach, Brad Stevens.
But midway through the season, you could see Irving’s mindset shift from re-signing to possibly leaving the Celts.
“Ask me July 1st” was what Irving told the media beginning of February when asked about whether his plans to re-sign changed. But as soon as the offseason rolled around, Irving’s tune changed. He made the decision to join the Brooklyn Nets on a 4 year $136 million dollar deal. Not only did he secure a new start
Kevin Durant & the Golden State Warriors
Kevin Durant has always been an interesting sight when it came to free agency. He has shown the Association that he will not be shy about choosing where he wants to take his next chapter. Through three seasons playing with Golden State, Durant was able to capture two championship rings and two Finals MVP Awards.
The move to Golden State elevated KD’s play. Of course, he being an elite scorer. But on the defensive end, Durant took his game to another level. He was averaging a career-high 1.7 blocks per game and taking the hardest defensive assignments every night. Coach Steve Kerr’s ability to inspire his players also appeared to suit Durant’s playing style.
Kevin Durant was not only a better player on the floor, he appears to have become a better teammate. He shared the ball more and became a pro at involving the entire team in the offense. He also sacrificed money so the Warriors core could stay together and continue to win. In summer 2017, fresh off of his first championship, Durant took a $10 million dollar pay cut so the Warriors were able to re-sign both Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.
Durant spoke on why he decided to take less money for the team. “I’m a smart guy and I want to keep this thing going and looking at Andre, Shaun, and Steph, they all should make the most money that they can make and get what they deserve.” Durant showed appreciation for his Warriors’ teammates part in winning his first championship ring.
Kevin & the Warrior Woes
Prior to the 2018-2019 season, the entire association knew that Durant was hinting at leaving Golden State once free agency came around. Desperate teams started clearing salary-cap space in an attempt to charm the 7-foot superstar into signing with their organizations.
The question is why would Durant want to leave after coming off of two consecutive championships? Was it because he wasn’t happy living in Oakland? Could it be because he didn’t necessarily have the keys to the franchise as Steph Curry did? Many speculations evolved around about what Durant felt was best for his career.
From injury woes to an on the court incident with teammate Draymond Green, the Warriors had a shaky season from the beginning. It might have been the Draymond incident that set KD on the path to leave. Distractions hounded the team into postseason play.
KD’s calf injury kept him out of the early 2019 NBA Playoffs. The Warriors eliminated Houstong and Portland without him. Many analysts began speculating that the Warriors were a better team without Durant on the floor. “Warriors are more dangerous without Durant” – Former NBA Player and Big 3 Star Cuttino Mobley stated on Speak For Yourself.
KD appears to keep up with the talk about him in the press. He most likely heard these statements all over the media. It is possible they influenced his decision to leave Golden State.
The killer instinct in Durant still did not die. In Game 5 on the NBA Finals, Durant came onto the floor. After only 12 minutes of play, he tore his Achilles and had to be carried from the floor. The Warriors went on to lose in 6 games to Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors and Leonard celebrated capturing their first NBA Championship.
In the aftermath, KD is rumored to have issues with the way the Warrior medical staff handled his injury status. The speculations continue to fly.
But, according to Durant’s camp, he’s looking forward to returning from injury soon and made his official decision to do it with another team. Durant signed a 4 year, $164 million dollar deal with the Brooklyn Nets joining forces with aforementioned superstar Kyrie Irving.
Kevin Meets Kyrie in Brooklyn
Now that these two stars are together, how will they handle the pressure of playing in Brooklyn? Both Durant and Irving are not fond of the media and league obligations. It will be interesting to see how they respond to constant media pressure and commentary. Besides that, it will possibly be a tough first season for Irving because Durant will be out rehabbing his Achilles. But Irving will also have great role players surrounding him such as DeAndre Jordan, Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, etc.
The question is once Durant returns in the 2020-2021 season, will these two superstar talents be able to find their way to success? There’s a lot of pressure on these two as far as delivering a championship. Both stars have proven that they can be big factors on championship-winning teams. It is no doubt that they will have to make some adjustments to their personal game play.
Once the players’ chemistry begins to click, both players will benefit from one another. They both have the ability to take the game over. This allows them to take the pressure off each other and step up to the plate when needed. The new Brooklyn Nets will face a tough season in the Eastern Conference. Multiple games against Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Irving’s old team, Boston. But Kyrie and Kevin’s combined championship pedigree will hopefully lead them through a tough conference on their way to a title.
Kyrie and Kevin & the Brooklyn Nets – Nick Andre Prediction
In case you can’t tell from my previous tone, I am pulling for the Brooklyn Nets. Kyrie and Kevin deserve a team that they can shape to their needs and it appears that the Nets might be a perfect fit. Too bad for Knicks fans everywhere.
Brooklyn will be a team to be wrecking with for many years to come. Both Durant and Irving are spectacular players who only have one goal in mind; and that’s winning. Hopefully nothing will get in their way and they will be able to compete at the highest level for consecutive years to come.