NBA: Kyrie Irving glad Nets traded Kevin Durant
Kyrie Irving got his wish to be traded out of Brooklyn, and he said he’s glad fellow superstar Kevin Durant followed him out the door.
Reports emerged early Thursday morning that the Phoenix Suns acquired Durant and T.J. Warren for three players and draft picks. The news came just a few hours after Irving scored 24 points in his debut for the Dallas Mavericks, who completed a trade with the Nets on Sunday.
“I’m just praying for [Durant’s] happiness, praying for his well-being,” Irving said.
The Nets had high hopes when they signed Durant and Irving to megacontracts in the summer of 2019, then added James Harden via a trade in January 2021. But between injuries and Irving’s inability to play because of his lack of a COVID-19 vaccination, the trio failed to mesh. Harden was traded a year ago at the deadline to the Philadelphia 76ers.
“We had James, and we were supposed to be this superteam,” Irving said. “I think I would like to say something about the superteam of me, James and KD that everyone thinks should have worked. We played very limited time together, and there were a lot of injuries that took place. I would have liked to see that work for the long term, but there are no mistakes and no coincidences and you gotta move forward.”
And as Irving left town, too, Durant and his business manager told Nets officials that he would like to be traded, preferably to the Suns, ESPN reported.
Nets owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks complied. The Nets sent Durant and Warren to Phoenix for Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder and four unprotected future first-round picks. Crowder subsequently was traded Thursday to the Milwaukee Bucks as part of a three-team deal also involving the Indiana Pacers.
Irving, 30, said he will enjoy playing against the 34-year-old Durant. The Suns and Mavericks have one game remaining this season, set for March 5 in Dallas.
“This business changes so quickly,” Irving said. “He’s getting a little bit older. I’m getting a little bit older. I just love the competition now that we can be in the same conference, and I welcome all that. Get to see him a little bit more, probably playing against Phoenix a lot more, and that’s what I’m looking forward to. Everything else in between — I’m just glad that he got out of there.”