Kyrie Irving let Kevin Durant down as the duo flirted with the idea of leaving the Brooklyn Nets this offseason - that's the opinion of NBA expert Logan Murdock.
Nets point guard Irving was linked with a move to the Los Angeles Lakers, with LeBron James reportedly pulling for the franchise to move for the seven-time All-Star. According to The Athletic , the Lakers reportedly wanted to offload Russell Westbrook, offering the former MVP and draft compensation for the services of Irving.
At the end of June, Irving opted in to his £31.3 million contract for the 2022-23 so the Lakers were planning to use Westbrook’s contract to match salaries for a potential trade. Westbrook - who joined the Lakers from the Washington Wizards last summer - opted into the final year of his contract, earning £39.7m.
At the same time, Durant handed in his trade request and allegedly gave the Nets an ultimatum to either fire Marks and coach Steve Nash or send him to another franchise. Ultimately, wounds were healed and all parties appear to be confident Durant is remaining in Brooklyn for the long term.
Nets general manager Sean Marks released a statement that the franchise and Durant are ‘moving forward’ as they attempt to bring a championship to Brooklyn for the first time. While the franchise will attempt to move forward with the duo amid a fragile relationship, Murdock believes Durant was let down by Irving last season.
Irving’s commitment to Brooklyn was heavily questioned last season, as he played just 29 games due to New York’s Covid vaccine policy. Speaking on The Bill Simmons Podcast , Murdock said: “Kyrie, from the outside looking in, has not held up his end of the bargain in terms of being a team-mate, a basketball friendship.
“I don't wanna get into their personal, but at least from an on-court thing, Kyrie hasn't held up to his end of the bargain. If I'm your team-mate, I'm supposed to be there every game if I can control it, and he just wasn't like that last season. I'm scratching my head thinking 'what's up with this bond?'
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“I was hearing at the time that the Nets didn't do enough to understand Kyrie, enough to really give all their resources to help this guy out. I think that manifested itself into the trade request.”
Irving has been working out with teammates while being involved in ‘constructive dialogue’ with Nets officials this offseason. It appears he will continue to play with Durant, although the 30-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent in 2023.
As for Durant, he signed a four-year contract extension worth £167.2m to stay with the Nets in August 2021. He will look forward to playing with Irving for another season at least after the duo joined forces to join Brooklyn in the 2019 offseason.