Nets’ Kevin Durant claims teaming up with Kyrie Irving wasn’t planned, but ‘just came together’
No one was shocked when Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving announced their plans to play together going forward. Rumors of their interest in forming one of the NBA’s most devastating scoring tandems in league history date back to last year, and reached a fever pitch after the pair was recorded sharing a hushed conversation at the NBA All-Star game in which many believed Irving could be heard alluding to “two max slots.”
Eight months later, it’s unclear if Irving was actually discussing financial parameters of free agency with Durant. But if he was, the widespread assumption was that he was referencing the New York Knicks, who had recently created double-max space by offloading onerous salary in the Kristaps Porzingis trade. The Brooklyn Nets would later create enough space to sign both superstars, of course, but Durant is adamant he and Irving didn’t “plan” on coming together this summer regardless.
In a sprawling interview with Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, the two-time Finals MVP insisted that his partnership with Irving “just came together.”
“I think the friendship part of the league has really grown, especially since LeBron James and Dwyane Wade became such great friends and ended up playing together,” he said. “People see friendship as the way guys are teaming up. There’s nothing wrong with people speculating. That’s just what it is, but we’re just good friends no matter what. We didn’t have to play together. It wasn’t necessary. But, we were friends before anything, and we just happened to want to hoop together. But it wasn’t a thing we planned. It just came together.”
Durant is unlikely to play in 2019-20 as he recovers from the ruptured Achilles tendon he suffered in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Regardless, he’ll have ample opportunity to continue developing his relationship with Irving in time for their on-court debut with the Nets.