Report: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving's Rehab Added to Sense of Removal from Nets in '19

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 12, 2022

Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving, right, and Kevin Durant celebrate after a basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers at the Barclays Center, Sunday, April 10, 2022, in New York. The Nets defeated the Pacers 134-126. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

The Brooklyn Nets' concerns about their "superteam construction" reportedly began during the 2019-20 NBA season while Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving rehabbed injuries away from the franchise.

ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz reported Tuesday the Nets felt a "sense of removal" from the superstars because they decided to work with "a bevy of medical specialists and personal trainers outside the team's purview."

The plight of superteams has come under the microscope given the struggles of the Nets and Los Angeles Lakers during the 2021-22 campaign.

Brooklyn will need to survive the Eastern Conference play-in tournament after posting a 44-38 record amid a drama-filled season. The Nets' season included Irving missing most of the team's home games because of New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate and James Harden being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for a package headlined by Ben Simmons, who's yet to play since the deal because of a back injury.

L.A. underwent a massive roster overhaul last offseason, including a trade for Russell Westbrook to create a Big Three alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but Westbrook's struggles combined with James and Davis missing extended time with injuries caused the Lakers to miss the playoffs.

It's raised questions about whether bringing in superstars from different teams and worrying about any potential issues later is no longer a successful roster-building method.

Arnovitz noted the approach "has yet to pay dividends for the Nets," and there's no guarantee it will despite the obvious talent on the roster.

"It's always something," one Brooklyn source told ESPN about Irving, who's an elite producer when on the floor but was described as a "very complicated piece" of the team's puzzle.

While Brooklyn's issues have garnered a lot of attention throughout this season, it appears they started all the way back when the superteam was originally formed three years ago.

Durant signed a four-year, $194.2 million contract extension in August, so it's unlikely he'll be going anywhere else in the near future, and Irving signaled his intention to follow suit in order to keep playing alongside KD.

So, while some members of the Nets organization are signaling concern about the roster's complexion, the team is seemingly going to push forward and hope the superstar duo is eventually able to deliver the franchise's first NBA championship.