The Nets are therefore on vacation, swept by the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs for the third campaign of the duo Kyrie Irving – Kevin Durant in Brooklyn.
After three seasons, the tandem’s record in New York is therefore very mixed and the Nets are not the imagined superpower. Admittedly, Kevin Durant was injured the first year, and Kyrie Irving had quickly joined him in the infirmary. Last year, injuries to point guard and James Harden plagued Brooklyn in the playoffs. This season, the vaccination status of Kyrie Irving, the injury of Joe Harris and the transfer of James Harden have again torpedoed the team.
Despite everything, Kyrie Irving assures that he wants to imitate Kevin Durant and extend with the club, while he is eligible for a contract of 184 million dollars over four years, or 248 million dollars over five years.
“When I say I’m here with Kevin (Durant), it really implies that we’re going to run this franchise together, with Joe (Tsai, owner) and Sean (Marks, GM)”
“I don’t plan to go anywhere” he explained after the elimination against Boston. “I’m just looking forward to this summer so I can keep building something with our guys. »
Moreover, Kyrie Irving wants to be fully invested in this construction.
“When I say I’m here with Kevin (Durant), I think that really implies that we’re going to run this franchise together, with Joe (Tsai, owner) and Sean (Marks, GM)”continued the playmaker. “And just the family members that we have in our dressing room, in our club. »
Does that include Steve Nash, whom he therefore does not mention, for the 2016 champion? We remember that he was not a fan of Kenny Atkinson, whom he and Kevin Durant had pushed out, and that he also assured that the double MVP was not really a “head coach” in his eyes.
In any case, Kyrie Irving continues to push for collegial management of the construction of Brooklyn.
“It’s not just about me and Kev, I don’t want it to be just about that. We are the cornerstones here, but we have a few other guys who are under contract. And I think we just need to make some moves this offseason, really talk about it, really get motivated about what we’re building, have fun with it, and make it enjoyable. »
If Kyrie Irving did not mention Steve Nash in his vision of the future of the Nets, Kevin Durant insisted on defending his coach when asked if the Canadian was still the man for the job for Brooklyn.
” Let’s go. Steve has had to deal with some crazy circumstances for the past two years. He had to manage so many things for his first as a coach. The Covid, the exchanges… I’m proud of the passion it brought us. »
“I know so many people wanted to see us fail, picked us as favorites and have so much to say at this point. So I use that as a driving force.
While he wasn’t the only spoiler, Kyrie Irving’s vaccination status has clearly been a major factor in Brooklyn’s troubles this year. The leader, who has only been able to play 29 games this year, being outright kicked out of the team before being reinstated following the wave of infections in December, has also recognized this.
“I felt like I was letting the team down when I couldn’t play. It sometimes became a distraction. »
Nevertheless, Kyrie Irving assures that the Nets must cut themselves off from outside pressure.
“Sometimes I feel like the noise from the outside world, the outside noise, seeps in. I’m not the type of person to let that happen, so as we build as a team, I just think we need to be mentally stronger and more honest about what we want to achieve. There’s so much going into our locker room, and since we probably didn’t have a good team balance on what affects us, and enough trust in each other, things could get uncomfortable. We just need to be tested a bit more. »
For the person concerned, this will in any case serve as motivation for this group, which should be able to count on Ben Simmons and Joe Harris next year to finally win this title that the Irving/Durant duo came to Brooklyn for.
“I know so many people wanted to see us fail, picked us as favorites and have so much to say at this point. So I’m using that as an engine for the summer. »