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Nets Rumors: Kevin Durant Shut Down Kyrie Irving Trade in Middle of Last Season

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 11, 2022

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Kevin Durant reportedly stopped the Brooklyn Nets from trading away Kyrie Irving at some point last season.

According to FS1 NBA insider Ric Bucher on his On The Ball with Ric Bucher podcast (h/t Hoops Hype), KD shot down the idea of a Kyrie trade, and the Nets decided to honor his wishes.

Bucher added that he has been told Durant and Irving are still good friends, but Durant may no longer value Kyrie as a teammate as much as he did when he reportedly prevented the Nets from trading him.

Last season, the Nets initially vowed to not let Irving play at all unless he received the COVID-19 vaccine since New York City protocols would have prevented him from playing in the team's home games.

Eventually, the Nets softened their stance, as multiple players went down with injuries, while others tested positive for COVID-19. That opened the door for Kyrie to be a part-time player, appearing only in road games.

The NYC protocols were ultimately changed by the end of the season, allowing Irving to play at Barclays Center despite not being vaccinated.

Despite the presence of Durant and Irving, the Nets were swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the eventual Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics.

The Nets acquired James Harden from the Houston Rockets during the 2020-21 season in order to form a triumvirate of stars with KD and Kyrie, but the trio hardly played together, primarily due to injuries.

Harden was ultimately traded to the Philadelphia 76ers prior to last season's deadline for a package headlined by Ben Simmons. While Simmons never played last season due to a back issue, the expectation is that he'll be back in 2022-23.

The Nets could have a contending team if Durant, Irving, Simmons and others are healthy and playing, but it remains a mystery whether Durant or Irving will be with the team next season.

In June, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski (h/t ESPN's Tim Bontemps) reported that Durant's business manager, Rich Kleiman, told him KD had requested a trade despite having signed a four-year contract extension with the Nets last year.

Kyrie somewhat surprisingly opted into the final year of his contract with the Nets in 2022-23, but Wojnarowski reported at the time that before opting in, Irving had provided the organization with a list of teams he wanted them to pursue a sign-and-trade deal with.

To this point, the Nets seemingly haven't gotten an offer to their liking for either Durant or Irving, so the possibility remains that they could be teammates again next season.

In the three seasons since Durant and Irving signed with Brooklyn, the team hasn't made it past the second round of the playoffs, which can't be considered anything other than a bitter disappointment.

Next season could represent the final attempt of Durant and Irving to salvage something in Brooklyn, or it is possible they have already played their final game together.

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