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Woj: Kyrie Irving 'Likely' Played Last Game with Nets After Kevin Durant Trade Rumors

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJune 30, 2022

Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets dynasty that never was is on the brink of collapse.

As the NBA world deals with Kevin Durant's blockbuster trade demand, it's become apparent that Kyrie Irving is also likely headed elsewhere.

"Everybody's in play in Brooklyn, certainly. I think it's very likely that not only Kevin Durant but Kyrie Irving have played their last games for the Nets," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said Thursday on NBA Today.

Malika Andrews @malika_andrews

The latest on Kevin Durant requesting a trade from the Nets from <a href="https://twitter.com/wojespn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@wojespn</a>.<br><br>Join us now on ESPN2 for our NBA Today Free Agency special as we break it all down. <a href="https://t.co/dsRBjecW8S">pic.twitter.com/dsRBjecW8S</a>

Wojnarowski reported Durant called Nets owner Joe Tsai earlier Thursday to formally request a trade. The situation had been brewing behind the scenes, as Durant had cut off contact with Nets brass for weeks.

Durant's falling-out with the organization has been months in the making and seemingly centers on the team's treatment of Irving, his longtime friend. Logan Murdock of The Ringer reported Durant "feels that the front office didn’t grow to understand Kyrie" during the pair's three years in Brooklyn.

Irving did damage to his reputation last season by not undergoing COVID-19 vaccination, which limited him to 29 games since he couldn't play in home games for much of the season under New York City's vaccination mandate. The situation became a distraction that undermined the Nets' effort to win a championship and played a part in James Harden's midseason request for a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Irving also left the team during the 2020-21 season to tend to a personal matter and has played in only 103 games in three seasons with Brooklyn.

Wojnarowski said Durant's hope would be to continue playing with Irving—just not in Brooklyn.

"They've wanted to play together, they want to continue to play together, but the sense is they don't want to do it together in Brooklyn anymore," he said.

It would be borderline impossible for any team to cobble together the necessary salary to land both Durant and Irving. It appears they have become so disenchanted with the franchise that they're willing to part ways just to play elsewhere.

Irving's decision to opt into his contract for the 2022-23 season seems like a ploy to give himself better options via trade. A sign-and-trade would have greatly limited his number of suitors.

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