The relationship between Brooklyn Nets superstars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant is well-documented. The said bond between the two is why Durant decided to join Kyrie in Brooklyn in Free Agency of 2019. Now, as concerns around Irving's vaccination status led the Nets to bar him from participating in team activities, KD seems to be all but ready to move on. Cassidy Hubbarth reports that when Durant was asked regarding his feelings towards Irving's decision, the two-time NBA Finals MVP had this to say.
Whether this statement shares Durant's true feelings regarding the matter is immaterial at this point. What is clear to basketball fans all over the world is that the Brooklyn Nets know that they still have what it takes to win an NBA title without Irving's services. Both Kevin Durant and James Harden have now spoken about the matter, implying that the Nets are ready to pursue their goals without Kyrie.
"We still have two pretty good leaders."
James Harden, YT
Harden is absolutely correct; if we look back at last year's playoffs, the Nets were a point away from making it to the NBA Finals and possibly capturing a ring for the franchise without Irving. With the return of LaMarcus Aldridge and veteran additions such as Patty Mills and Paul Millsap, Brooklyn is still the team to beat in the East and possibly in the entire NBA. Irving makes them nearly unstoppable, but having James Harden and Kevin Durant leading your team always gives you more than just a puncher's chance to succeed in the playoffs.
It will be interesting to see what the Nets do next, as Kyrie's vaccination status limits his availability in New York and San Francisco. Many teams out there might be willing to roll the dice by trading for Irving, and getting something in return for him seems like the only logical thing to do.
Even if Kyrie gets vaccinated against Covid-19, the dynamic between Irving and the Nets seems to already be fractured, and chemistry is everything for teams with championship aspirations. This is precisely the reason why Brooklyn refused to let Kyrie participate as a part-time member of the team; they know talent does not simply win over cohesiveness, which is something that some of their conference rivals have built over the past few seasons.
Kevin Durant seems to have moved on from the Kyrie Irving drama, and, likely, James Harden has too. The Nets now have some work to do to shore up their position as the title-favorites, which means making decisions that involve Kyrie Irving moving on as well.