Rumor: Kevin Durant wants to stay with Nets – without Kyrie Irving

Brooklyn Nets stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving
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Kevin Durant has publicly supported friend and teammate Kyrie Irving then requested a trade from the Nets – reportedly because he disliked how they treated Irving.

But what if Durant had the complete opposite reason for requesting a trade?

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

There’s a school of thought, speaking to people around the league, that they think that the Durant trade request wasn’t actually about him getting out of Brooklyn. It was about getting Kyrie out of Brooklyn.

Durant signed a four-year contract extension with the Nets when Irving wouldn’t/couldn’t sign his own extension. Durant then requested a trade after Irving opted in to return to the Nets.

Without knowing anything else, that sequence might make it look like Durant want to stay in Brooklyn without Irving.

But this would make sense only if Durant issued an unreported me-or-Kyrie ultimatum in conjunction with his trade request. Otherwise, how would the Nets know to trade Irving and not Durant? Brooklyn ownership/management would probably welcome that. The brass appears far more frustrated with Irving than with Durant. Instead, the Nets reportedly want to handle Durant’s trade saga before addressing Irving.

I can grant that if – if – he wants to stay in Brooklyn without Irving, Durant would have a tough time executing that plot cleanly. Irving reportedly wants to stay with the Nets (if you buy that), and Durant has shown to care about his personal relationship with Irving. Durant trying to get Irving traded might look quite convoluted.

But this theory mostly sounds like more overly conspiratorial thinking by NBA insiders.