Kevin Durant Tweets 'Free Me' After Getting Pulled from Nets vs. Raptors

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 6, 2021

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) congratulates guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the fourth quarter of the team's NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

Kevin Durant tweeted "free me" in response to being pulled from the Brooklyn Nets' home game against the Toronto Raptors on Friday due to the league's health and safety protocols: 

Kevin Durant @KDTrey5

Free me

Kevin Durant @KDTrey5

Yo @nba, your fans aren’t dumb!!!! You can’t fool em with your Wack ass PR tactics.. #FREE7 https://t.co/78N1iKFAoc

Durant, who was initially in the starting lineup, was pulled for Bruce Brown right before the beginning of the game due to contact tracing, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews.

However, he was eventually cleared and re-entered the game late in the first quarter. Durant had eight points, six rebounds and five assists in 19 minutes.

His on-court time ended when he was forced to leave midway through the third quarter "at the direction of the league," per Andrews.

The NBA released a statement on Friday's events, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Statement from NBA on Kevin Durant situation: https://t.co/S6XvLUhAH2

Durant was averaging 30.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game entering Friday.

The Raptors won 123-117 despite being outscored by 10 points when Durant was on the floor.

Durant will not be making the trip to Philadelphia for the Nets' road game against the 76ers, per Wojnarowski. However, the rest of the team has been cleared.

Nets head coach Steve Nash all but confirmed the news, per Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News, when he said postgame: "I don't believe he'll come to Philly."

Nash also spoke about how the situation affected he and his team, per Andrews: "Steve Nash said that he was a bit 'distracted' by the Durant yo-yo of being unavailable, then available, then unavailable due to health and safety protocols. Nash said he didn't handle the situation as well as he wanted to."

Nets guard James Harden also said, per James Herbert of CBS Sports: "I'm thinking to myself, well, if it’s contact tracing and we’re all in the locker room together, that means there’s no game, if he’s not going to be able to play. That was my thought process."

As for the Raptors, they are currently in a 17-day stretch where they are scheduled to travel to eight different cities. As of now, the plan is for the team to continue its road trip and head to Atlanta and play the Hawks, per head coach Nick Nurse (h/t Blake Murphy of The Athletic).