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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Kevin Durant swapped Stephen Curry for Kyrie Irving when he joined Brooklyn Nets – how will KD be feeling about that alternative now? | NBA Information

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He traded Stephen Curry for Kyrie Irving two years in the past. That is a swap others would possibly’ve hesitated to do even earlier than Irving took a controversial vaccine stand that successfully compelled him to sit.

In fact, Kevin Durant, if nothing else, travels his personal path, performs by his personal guidelines and listens to his personal beat – privileges which might be made attainable if you’re one of many two or three finest NBA gamers on the planet. Durant earned that proper way back when he demonstrated a capability to empower himself and any franchise fortunate to have him. You flex your freedom to your satisfaction in that scenario and nobody else’s.

Your alternative, nonetheless, does include penalties – similar as everybody else’s. And proper now, inspecting the present state of his earlier and present groups, and weighing the price of Curry and Irving, it is truthful to marvel: Did Durant select correctly when he bailed on the Warriors in 2019?

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, proper, is defended by Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving through the first half of a sport in February 2021

The Nets are dribbling a ball of confusion right here within the wee hours of a brand new season. They’re locked in a championship-or-bust actuality, with no wiggle room for error. That is the single-minded pursuit if you put three in-their-prime future Corridor of Famers in uniform for that very purpose.

However the early returns of an extended season are sophisticated for Durant and the Nets. They’re trying to find that championship traction. James Harden is off to a light begin and the previous Kia MVP is presumably bedevilled by new rule adjustments that now not honour his means to attract fouls. The supporting solid is ok, however once more, they’re for assist solely.

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And anyway, it is all concerning the elephant within the room, who was informed by the Nets to go away the room and keep house.

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Stephen Curry scores 37 factors and 7 rebounds within the Golden State Warriors win over the Brooklyn Nets in Week 5 of the NBA

Irving is busy sitting, whereas Curry is busy cooking. No one is aware of how lengthy both will pattern in these instructions, however the protected cash is on Curry for apparent causes. He is coming off an MVP-finalist 12 months and is closing in on the NBA’s all-time lead in three-pointers made. He lately dropped 50 factors and 10 assists in a sport and nonetheless stays the perfect teammate Durant ever had.

Durant and Curry are the 2 main scorers within the league proper now, respectively, whereas additionally holding down the highest two spots in Michael C. Wright’s newest Kia MVP Ladder. Each are additionally the reigning NBA Gamers of the Week.

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (AP)
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (AP)

In the meantime, Irving is holding agency on his reluctance to obtain the vaccine. Who knew that the man who disrupted the Warriors dynasty in 2016 with a legendary jumper would flip down not only one shot, however two?

In a curious coincidence, that Sport 7 pull-up three-pointer by Irving was launched over Curry’s outstretched fingertips. It was a cold-blooded Finals second frozen in time and gave Irving and his skills the last word stamp of approval.

Properly, a second approval was stamped a number of years later when Durant, as a free agent, surprisingly bailed on Curry and the Warriors following three fruitful seasons and hitched his future as an alternative with Irving.

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Kyrie Irving says he ‘is aware of the results’ of his selections, having been benched by the Brooklyn Nets as he continues to decide on to not be vaccinated in opposition to Covid-19

In consequence, the Nets are leaning heavier on Durant than they initially thought, or needed to, at this level. The loopy factor is, Durant is greater than able to carrying the freight. Previous to being held to 19 factors in last night’s 117-99 victory for the Warriors in Brooklyn, Durant has scored 20 or extra in all 14 video games to begin the season. It was one shy of Karl Malone’s file, and the Warriors stout protection left him unable to tie it.

Durant got here into the sport averaging 29.6 factors per sport on an astonishing 58.6 per cent taking pictures. He is additionally grabbing 8.4 rebounds per sport and inflicting issues for the opposite bench, which is commonplace for him. He’s, as he as soon as famously mentioned, Kevin Durant – “you realize who I’m.” Certainly.

However keep in mind, this superteam was designed with superstars – plural – in thoughts. Harden and Irving and Durant, an epic trio, poised to erase the Knicks within the minds of New Yorkers, win titles and provide a solution to the well-known query shouted within the greatest Borough: The place Brooklyn at?

This would possibly finally occur if the moons and Irving’s moods are aligned.

Durant in public is steadfast in his perception concerning the Nets. He mentioned in early October “in fact now we have sufficient” to win with out Irving, which really will not be a daring assertion within the common season.

He added: “Whereas we’re taking part in in a sport, I’m not going to take a seat there and say… once we get down or it’s a tight sport, like ‘Rattling, we do not have sufficient.’ We positively need Kyrie Irving out right here on the ground. And he is a big a part of what we do. However it isn’t occurring proper now. So we received to determine it out… nobody goes to lose confidence and hope Kyrie comes to save lots of us. We received to play. Everyone right here has confidence in what they do.”

However within the right here and now, Durant and the Nets are staring on the potential of Harden being diminished by rule adjustments and presumably Father Time… and in addition the possibility of Irving digging in his sneaker heels and by no means returning this season.

The native authorities’s vaccine mandate means Irving won’t play any house video games at Barclays Heart, and the Nets, weary of the drama, did not desire a part-time participant within the lineup so that they informed Irving to skip the street video games, too. The franchise may follow its weapons and hope Irving’s love of basketball finally overwhelms his distaste for the vaccine, however who is aware of who will blink first?

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When requested about Kyrie Irving’s present standing, Kevin Durant mentioned he wasn’t involved and ‘trusted’ Irving

In the meantime, there are not any such worries with the 12-2 Warriors. Curry is following up an epic season with the makings of one other. His jumper stays pure (and will get even higher) and his willpower to elevate the Warriors again among the many contenders stays agency. An argument might be made that Curry remains to be essentially the most troublesome task within the league, placing him in very small firm – one that features Durant.

As soon as upon a time, they had been a harmful duo, taking turns dropping daggers and stealing the soul of no matter crew nervously stared throughout the ground from them. Except for accidents – Durant suffered an Achilles tear in 2019 that prevented a 3rd title with Curry – nothing may stifle their reign until both Curry or Durant left city.

That was not occurring with Curry, the home-grown and beloved star, who stayed put and signed a four-year extension with Golden State within the offseason. Durant, although, longed for one thing else, one thing that re-signing with the Warriors couldn’t give him. So he departed – once more, his proper to take action – and connected with Irving. When Harden compelled his approach out of Houston, the Nets had a three-man nucleus that, on paper, appeared simply as sturdy as Curry-Durant-Klay Thompson.

Klay Thompson celebrates in front of fans during the second half of Game 5 against the Houston Rockets in 2019
Klay Thompson celebrates in entrance of followers through the second half of Sport 5 in opposition to the Houston Rockets in 2019

Talking of Klay: He is on the mend from a pair of main accidents and anxious to show that he belonged on the NBA’s seventy fifth Anniversary Workforce. That gasoline ought to solely assist the Warriors elevate themselves among the many finest within the West… however how significantly better off would they – and Durant – be in the event that they’d remained intact collectively?

No sense taking part in that sport anymore within the rearview mirror. Durant appears completely satisfied the place he’s – he signed a contract extension this summer time – and centered as normal on successful whatever the scenario.

In the meantime, Curry couldn’t push the Warriors to the playoffs final season – blame Golden State’s many accidents for a lot of that – but the problem of returning the Warriors to prominence has clearly lit a fuse inside him.

And that’s the coronary heart of this matter: The problem for Durant in Brooklyn is way more durable than the comforts afforded to him at Golden State. So salute him for taking the street with extra harmful curves.

We are going to verify again subsequent spring and summer time to revisit this concern and replace the scorecard. In the meantime, and till then, there is not any mistaking the place Durant’s alternative stands at this very minute:

Irving is busy drawing DNPs, whereas Curry is busy drawing applause.

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