Kevin Durant chose a good time to crank out a new podcast.
The Nets star released an episode of his “The ETCs” show Friday, dropping it into a hurricane of offseason drama and speculation keyed by his good pal Kyrie Irving. The cliff notes: The mercurial, vaccine-refusing Irving is currently in a standoff with the Nets as his June 29 opt-out deadline fast approaches. And if Irving chooses free agency and leaves Brooklyn, all eyes will turn to Durant. Could he demand a trade and trigger the complete implosion of the Nets’ superteam era?
Here’s what Durant said on the podcast. And what we think about what he said.
Durant on Irving: There’s no involvement at all. I can’t be involved with – this is this man’s livelihood, this is much bigger than me. Being a free agent is one of the most important times in your career. You can’t be swayed by anybody else. So I just … wait for the time. Nothing can happen right now. I don’t think he can make a decision on opting out until [June 29], so I just kind of let things play out, see what happens. Keep the regular contact up with Ky and see what happens, man. This is something that is so much out of my control that I don’t want to be a part of it. But we’ll see what happens, though. … Whatever happens, the friendship will still be there.
The takeaway: It certainly sounds like Durant has made peace with the fact Irving might leave. You have to imagine even he is exhausted with his friend at this point. Not necessarily enough to give his blessing for general manager Sean Marks to slam the door shut on Irving. But enough that he isn’t going to intervene if things are trending toward Irving moving on.
Durant on the state of the Nets: It’s just reports. You know how rumors go around this time, draft time, the finals just ended. We’ve got to keep that dialogue going, keep that engagement going. Obviously we’re an interesting topic, we’ve got a lot going on with our team. Uncertainty with Ben not playing last year, being swept in the playoffs, Kyrie situation, being a free agent. There’s a lot of uncertainty with our team. So I understand why there is so much noise around us. As individuals, you control what you can and move forward. When the time is right, everything will work out for itself. … We want to look to upgrade and get better. That’s progression of a unit. We want to keep building our identity, that’s the thing. And your identity comes from winning basketball games.
The takeaway: The Nets have to feel good about the fact Durant used “we” during the conversation. And it was refreshing to hear Durant be introspective enough to recognize the Nets are a captivating circus for good reason. That said, there definitely seemed to be an air of skepticism. Durant definitely intimated he is willing to stay with the Nets if Irving leaves. But it sure sounds like he is keeping his options open. In the end, with or without Irving, it’s going to come down to whether Marks presents a plan Durant feels is good enough to win a title. And there are reasons to doubt that is possible given the current circumstances.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]