Does Kyrie Irving’s trade confirm Kevin Durant’s mistake in leaving Warriors?
After the Brooklyn Nets traded All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks, did Kevin Durant make a mistake leaving the Golden State Warriors in 2019?
The Brooklyn Nets’ latest attempt to create a super team to win multiple NBA championships has once again backfired. They brought in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving through free agency in the summer of 2019. They then followed that up by acquiring James Harden from the Houston Rockets midway through the 2020-21 season.
At the 2022 trade deadline, the Nets traded Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers. Days before the deadline this year, the team traded Irving to the Dallas Mavericks after he requested a trade last Friday.
Now, that leaves Durant as the only remaining piece of this super team. Whether that will be the case after the February 9 trade deadline remains to be seen. That leaves the question – did Durant make a mistake leaving the Golden State Warriors in 2019?
So thinks ESPN analyst Jalen Rose. During “NBA Countdown” on Sunday, Rose said Durant “is going to regret leaving the Warriors.”
“They just won two championships, he was Finals MVP, and both of these guys had something to prove,” Rose said. “Kyrie wanted to prove he can win without LeBron [James]. KD wanted to prove to him that, like Stephen A. [Smith] said, it wasn’t the weakest move ever by a superstar. So they teamed up with Brooklyn to do something special, and they failed.
Did Kevin Durant make a mistake leaving the Warriors betting on Kyrie Irving?
Did Durant make a mistake leaving the Warriors?
For fans looking back, as the Nets didn’t make it past the second round of the NBA playoffs with Durant, Irving and Harden, some of them would believe he made a mistake leaving Golden State.
Irving missed time for a variety of reasons during his time in Brooklyn with Durant, such as an injury, refusing to get a COVID-19 shot when New York had a warrant, and his posting an anti-Semitic film on social media. which led to his suspension after repeatedly failing to apologize. Durant also lacked time during his time with the Nets, including through injuries.
Then there’s obviously the fact that Durant reached the NBA Finals in each of his three seasons with the Warriors, where he twice won the Larry O’Brien Trophy and the Bill Russell Finals MVP Award. the NBA. The Warriors recently won an NBA championship ahead of Durant, beating the Boston Celtics in six games last season.
But when he asked Durant, he repeatedly said he wanted to play somewhere else. From his introductory press conference with the Nets in 2019, to an interview with Michael Lee of The Washington Post (subscription required) last December.
“He was another pivot,” Durant said, h/t SI.com. “I just wanted to play ball somewhere else. But a lot of people see it as I’m chasing something. And I think that probably stems from when I said, “I don’t want to be number two anymore.” I was number two in high school, draft. But what I had to explain to people was that I had just lost in the final. I wanted to go back and win the final. It wasn’t about, ‘I want to be the best ever. I want to be better than LeBron or [Michael Jordan].’ I don’t give anything about it. I want to wake up every day and do what I do. If we win, I know that stuff comes with me being the best I can be.
Last offseason, Durant requested a trade from the Nets that sent shockwaves through the NBA world. The Warriors were linked to Durant, as were other teams like the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat (both of which were on his list of favorite destinations). Ultimately, Durant stayed with the Nets.
It will be interesting to see what the Nets do in regards to the team now. They acquired Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, an unprotected 2029 first-round pick, and 2027 and 2029 second-round picks from the Mavericks. Will the Nets try to make another addition to the pair alongside Durant? Will they pursue a trade for him?
Fans and media personalities may think Durant made a mistake leaving the Warriors. But Durant said he wanted to play elsewhere after becoming a free agent in 2019, and that’s the decision he made.