It’s been a pretty wild season for the 2021-2022 Brooklyn Nets. Just a couple of days ago, the team’s alpha Kevin Durant made some intriguing comments. He talked about how he wants to contend for a title for years to come in Brooklyn, even if they don’t win it this season.
Per Mark Sanchez of The New York Post:
“I signed here for five years to play,” Durant said Monday morning after Nets shootaround. “Obviously this year’s important, but no matter what happens this year, I still want to do it again. And again. I want to continue to play, have this group together as long as we can.
“So short term, we can focus on [this year’s chances] for sure, but we’re also looking at the big picture of things, too. Seeing how we can build something sustainable for more than just a year or two or three.”
Some fans heard it with their glass half full. Oh good, Durant has planted his flag, he wants a dynasty in this town. Others read it with more scrutiny, listening for hints of resignation. No Ben Simmons with his herniated disc, the Mayor Eric Adams isn’t making the key change for Irving, maybe they’re onto 2023? Both interpretations seemed reasonable.
Every other week in Netsville it seems the pendulum swings between potentially losing a Play-In game because Kyrie Irving can’t play in NYC or Canada, to being finals favorites. There’s no in between for the black-and-white. Them’s the rules.
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After the most recent loss, head coach Steve Nash said his team ran out of gas. Nash admitted that his shorthanded squad was out-physical’d at nearly every position by the young Memphis Grizzlies, playing without their MVP candidate Ja Morant. But when pressed about Irving’s pending return for home games, he declined to count his chickens before they hatch.
We all know we want Kyrie, but I really don’ have any comments ’til [things are official],” the former two-time NBA MVP said.
"We all know we want Kyrie but I really don't have any comments 'til [things are official]."
-Steve Nash on reports Kyrie Irving is eligible to play in home games for the Nets.
— DaveEarly (@DavidEarly) March 24, 2022
It’s the old Charlie Brown football gag on repeat. We think that something is going to change and Kyrie Irving will be eligible to play home games soon and then it just doesn’t happen. And the team is hyper cognizant of that possibility. So while Nets fans are celebrating, the team is taking a more measured approach.
Kevin Durant finished with 35 points, tacking on 8 dimes and 11 boards. Uncharacteristically, Easy Money was just 1 of 7 from downtown. The teamed climbed back into a game they trailed by double digits only to fall again to a more physical and rugged group. Jaren Jackson Jr. is a beast.
THROUGH HIS CHEST @jarenjacksonjr 🍅 pic.twitter.com/UF835cVU3S
— Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) March 23, 2022
As Kyrie Irving was leaving the post game podium after his own comments he asked reporters not to push KD to talk about the issue.
They tried anyway, but Durant didn’t take any bait.
“Yeah I don’t think it’s official, just been hearing rumors and stuff,” Durant said. “Once it’s official we can speak on it.” Next a reporter asked Durant about the hypothetical scenario Irving could return full-time, and what kind of lift would he provide the Nets. Durant didn’t feel the need to explain something so obvious.
“You know the answer to that question,” Durant said. “You see how he plays. Just turns the whole team around when he’s out there so hopefully we get some good news,” the 12 time All-Star added.
Kevin Durant was asked about Irving possibly playing full-time. "Yeah I don't think it's official, just been hearing rumors and stuff. Once it's official we can speak on it."
Asked, hypothetically, what Irving would bring to table?
"You know answer to that question." pic.twitter.com/x9HkOlQ3X4
— DaveEarly (@DavidEarly) March 24, 2022
Indeed, Irving has averaged… averaged about 44 points over his last four games. So we certainly don’t need KD to explain to us what type of lift that would provide. But in the end, the Nets had clearly made the team decision prior to coming out for media availability not to weigh in on this subject. They would only look foolish celebrating something if the old football got pulled back at the last second again.
At least not until they know for sure, for sure that Irving can play in home games. But this is the closest that reality has felt since training camp back in September, isn’t it? Irving’s possible return might even prolong their season enough for Ben Simmons to get healthy too. Dare we say… scary ho-… never mind. We’ll comment when something is more official. Maybe like KD says it’s all just rumors now.