Stein: Nets Were Desperate for Vet Who'd Command Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving's Respect

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 18, 2022

Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets may have reached a detente in their relationship with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but it appears there's still work to be done in regaining trust behind the scenes.

NBA insider Marc Stein reported the Nets' recent signing of Markieff Morris was rooted in a desire to acquire a veteran voice willing to stand up to the two superstars.

"The Nets were desperate to add a veteran who could command the respect of stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and believe Morris has the gravitas to speak up when necessary like he did in Los Angeles alongside James and Davis," Stein wrote.

The Nets front office spent all of last season dealing with a mess centered around Irving's refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Irving was limited to just 29 regular-season games due to that choice, which ultimately played a part in the Nets being the No. 7 seed in the East and James Harden's midseason trade request.

Controversy carried over into the offseason when the Nets refused to commit to a long-term contract with Irving and then reached fever pitch levels when Durant requested a trade. That months-long saga played out largely in the media before Durant rescinded his request and ultimately recommitted to Brooklyn.

Suffice it to say the Nets are understandably wary of allowing Irving and Durant to set the organizational tone moving forward.

Morris is a no-nonsense player who has never shied away from standing up to teammates when needed. It's unclear if that tact will work with Durant and Irving, who are among the NBA's most headstrong players.

That said, the culture established over the duo's first two seasons was untenable. Adding Morris to the mix and potentially trying something a little different may ultimately prove fruitful.


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