Once the Kevin Durant saga took a stranglehold of the NBA offseason, it became easy to forget he wasn’t the only Nets star rumored to be on his way out of Brooklyn.
Before Durant filed — and ultimately rescinded — a trade request, there were reports indicating that Kyrie Irving and the Nets were bound for a separation. The 2021-22 campaign seemingly tarnished the sides’ relationship, as Irving only played 29 regular-season games due to his unvaccinated status and Brooklyn was swept in the first round of the playoffs.
But despite the mountain of reports and rumors suggesting otherwise, both Irving and Durant will enter the new season as members of the Nets. Speaking at Brooklyn’s media day Monday, the veteran point guard shed light on the legitimacy of the offseason trade speculation.
“Yeah,” Irving told reporters when asked if he was close to leaving the Nets, per MassLive. “There were options, but not many. I’ll tell you that, because, again, this stigma. If, whether or not I want to play, whether or not I’m going to be committed to the team, which I thought was really unfair at times. But also the timing was ideal to be able to put that on me because I wasn’t available.”
For what it’s worth, oddsmakers are confident Irving, Durant and the Nets will be able to work through all of the hardships they’ve encountered and become a force this season. A few weeks out of Opening Night, Brooklyn has the fourth-shortest odds at DraftKings Sportsbook to win the 2023 NBA championship.