The drip, drip, drip demise of the Nets continues with two days before Kyrie Irving’s opt-out deadline.
The latest Brooklyn drama: Kevin Durant is unhappy with the front office because it never got to know the mercurial Irving and understand what made him tick — and what made him frequently choose not to show up to work.
From The Ringer’s Logan Murdock (transcript via The Post):
His biggest beef is that he feels that the front office didn’t grow to understand Kyrie, whatever that means. I would push back on that when a guy leaves for two weeks at a time … Kyrie earns the lion’s share of the blame. But I think KD believes that, hey, you guys didn’t understand this guy. You didn’t try to figure out where he was coming from.
Murdock also reported Durant is peeved the Nets got rid of staffer Adam Harrington, his former personal trainer. Durant has not spoken to the Nets in weeks, according to Murdock.
“He’s still in this figure-it-out mode,” Murdock said, “but there is some fire to that smoke that he’s kind of reevaluating where he stands with this.”
Durant pulled the “I just work here” card on his own podcast last week when asked about Irving’s contractual status. If Irving does not opt into the final year of his current deal by Wednesday, he will become a free agent. The Nets are reportedly hesitant to give him a long-term deal given his unreliability, so there is a belief an opt-out could lead him to leave Brooklyn, most likely in a sign-and-trade.
And, many speculate, Irving’s departure would likely spur Durant to demand a trade.
“There’s no involvement at all,” Durant said on The ETCs. “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.”
Durant added: “Obviously we’re an interesting topic, we’ve got a lot going on with our team. Uncertainty with Ben (Simmons) 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.”
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]