Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan joined the Nets as a package in 2019. The franchising-altering stars, Durant and Irving even accepted incentives in their contracts so Brooklyn could overpay Jordan on a four-year, $40 million deal.
What’s the status of Jordan’s relationship with Durant and Irving?
“We’re definitely not friends anymore,” Jordan deadpanned before giving a serious answer.
We’re friends before basketball, after basketball, and I think, ultimately, we all just want to be happy. And being able to compete is something that is very important to me, and they understand that. And we’re brothers beyond basketball. So, us being teammates or not isn’t going to reflect or affect our relationship.
I did have a great time in Brooklyn, the two years that I was there. Being able to experience that culture in New York, my family being able to experience that culture in New York, and being able to live in that city and play for that team was awesome. And I have a ton of memories for the two years that I was there, and I won’t forget those.
But I’m definitely excited to start this next chapter.
Jordan didn’t play in last season’s playoffs. Blake Griffin, Jeff Green and Nicolas Claxton supplanted him in the rotation. James Johnson replaces Green this year. Brooklyn also drafted Day'Ron Sharpe No. 29 and signed LaMarcus Aldridge.
Jordan starting at center over Jarrett Allen was once a flashpoint for the Nets, a sign of Durant’s and Irving’s power. Given how Brooklyn caters to its stars, Jordan losing his rotation spot – at the very minimum – probably received no vehement pushback from Durant and Irving.
And that’s good for the Nets. They have better options for most matchups (though Jordan’s size and strength could have theoretically helped against 76ers star Joel Embiid).
This also works out well for Jordan. He’ll likely have a larger role in Los Angeles with Anthony Davis preferring power forward, Marc Gasol maybe departing and Dwight Howard most effective in limited minutes at age 35. If he earns at least a full-season minimum salary in 2022-23, Jordan will also come out ahead financially after surrendering $4 million in his buyout.
It’s easy to take Jordan at his word. Durant and Irving got Jordan his big contract. They appeared to enjoy their experience together in Brooklyn.
Now, they can go their separate ways better off.