Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant didn’t team up officially with the Brooklyn Nets until July 2019. However, the All-Star duo made plans to leave their respective franchises in Boston and Golden State several months before that, according to a new book excerpt.
New details about the Irving/Durant partnership have emerged from Matt Sullivan’s new book CAN’T KNOCK THE HUSTLE: which posted a lengthy passage on FoxSports.com on Thursday morning. The book chronicles Irving forming plans to leave Boston just weeks after he committed to re-sign with the franchise for the long-term in front of a TD Garden crowd. According to the report, Durant joining Irving at his mansion in Weston, ahead of a Celtics-Warriors game on January 25th. It was then the duo decided to start planning their next steps, according to Sullivan’s excerpt.
“Despite his misgivings about the racialized history of Boston sports fans, Kyrie had told the Celtics crowd that he wanted to re-sign for the long term at a fan appreciation event in the fall of 2018. But three weeks after that, his grandfather died, sending Kyrie into a sudden spiral of depression for which he’d deeply regret not seeking therapy. From that moment, he would tell his old friend Kevin Durant, “life became way more important than basketball. Anything I was doing in basketball, I didn’t really care.”
By the time KD arrived at his temporary mansion for their unfinished business, Kyrie had grown sick of creating a social distance from Celtics teammates for days at a time or else, as he was that month in January 2019, pointing fingers at them in public, especially around a loss in Brooklyn. He’d tried to stop internalizing the media’s misperception of his ego. He’d tried to be more present for his three-year-old daughter. To treat his job like a job. But self-care could begin professionally, on his own terms. He’d been charting a path home, by way of his boyhood team: the Nets.”
Shortly after that January meeting, Irving started to backpedal about his commitment to Boston over the long-term. He told reporters at Madison Square Garden to ‘Ask me July 1st’ when questioned about re-signing with the Celtics over the long-term. Weeks later, rumors swirled around Irving and Durant at the NBA All-Star game as they were seen talking.
“I’m just going to do what’s best for me. That’s what it really comes down to,” Irving said in February 2019 of his free agency. “Obviously this has become an entertainment thing for everybody. So somebody else is asking for a trade and I’m thrown into that, and uncertainty comes back on me. At the end of the day I don’t live in this little hub. Some people call me about this dumb s—, and of course my name (keeps getting) thrown in this. I’m not worried about a reputation, I’m not worried about a legacy to leave. I’m just trying to be a human being, trying to make the best decision for me and my family. So obviously things this season haven’t gone as I planned and that’s part of being on a team where you’re still trying to figure things out. So I’m always going to be mature about that, professional, come to do my job every single day and really just see what happens. And that’s what it really comes down to.”
Irving and Durant signed four-year contracts with Brooklyn in July 2019.