While Kevin Durant is the better, more accomplished player, all signs point to Kyrie Irving being the one who laid the groundwork for the two superstars to sign with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency.
In the process, Durant turned down the New York Knicks and, if we’re to believe Stephen A. Smith, possibly the opportunity to play alongside Kemba Walker, who since reportedly has agreed to a four-year, $141 million contract with the Boston Celtics.
“When the New York Knicks had approached Kevin Durant’s team and they talked about, ‘You know what? We want you that bad. Who do you want with you?’ OK, and they brought up Kemba Walker in the event that Kyrie Irving went to Brooklyn, and Kemba Walker as a security blanket because we know what Kemba Walker brings to the table,” Smith said on Monday’s episode of “First Take” on ESPN. “What did KD say? ‘Nope. No can do.’ He was only interested in playing with one dude, and that was Kyrie Irving, because they’re tight.
“And so when you look at it from that perspective, we can look at the young guys, we can look at the talent the Brooklyn Nets have, but clearly this franchise has been handed to KD and Kyrie. So you’re the leader of the franchise, A, and B, you’re playing with somebody who’s your boy.”
Now, there’s no telling whether Walker would have signed with the Knicks even if Durant expressed interest in joining forces with him in the Big Apple. The former Charlotte Hornets point guard seems to be pumped about joining Boston, which boasts a talented roster despite also losing Al Horford to free agency, and Durant could miss the entire 2019-20 season after rupturing his Achilles during the NBA Finals.
But it’s still interesting to hear about Durant shooting down the idea of playing with Walker in favor of playing with Irving, as there probably are several players in Boston who are quite happy the C’s have replaced the latter with the former this summer. Irving’s two-year stint with the Celtics was tumultuous, to say the least.
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