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Getty Ben Simmons (L) and Royce O'Neale of the Brooklyn Nets attend a game between the Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2022 NBA Summer League

The future of Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets has been a bit murky this offseason. It has been unclear what is going on at any given moment between the two sides.

Brooklyn was unwilling to give Irving a long-term extension because of concerns that have developed in his time with the Nets, especially after his stance with the COVID-19 vaccine which caused him to miss multiple key games for the franchise. Irving has gone back and forth from wanting to join the Los Angeles Lakers to reunite with LeBron James this offseason or reports that he never wanted to leave Brooklyn. Irving ultimately ended up opting into the final year remaining on his player option in Brooklyn. 

The Nets have been reported to being so done with the drama that Irving brings that they have thought about exercising the stretch-and-waive provision to rid themselves of Kyrie for his final season in Brooklyn. They have also been engaged in constant trade discussions with the Los Angeles Lakers to move on from the star. 

However, the recent updates with Irving have been that the star is in a “good place and comfortable” with the franchise and could return to Brooklyn next season. The Nets also offered Irving support on their official social media accounts, sharing photos from Iriving’s “More Than A Run” All-Star Game. Irving also received support from Nets teammates at the game as well. 

Irving’s Nets Teammates Show Support

After an offseason of trade rumors involving Irving and the Nets, the point guard still had the support of his Nets teammates at the “More Than A Run” All-Star Game, he hosted at New Jersey’s Kean University. The game was attended by fellow Nets players Kessler Edwards, Royce O’Neale, David Duke Jr., Alondes Williams, and RaiQuan Gray. After so much uncertainty, the gesture by the players is a good sign for the Nets, especially if the point guard returns next season. 

Put on a show for the squad to enjoy ????

— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) August 5, 2022

Ian Begley of SNY alluded to Irving believing he will be back in Brooklyn next season in a recent report. “A source close to Irving said this week that the seven-time All-Star is in a good place with the Nets and comfortable entering the 2022-23 season,” Begley wrote. 

In the same report, Begley shared that if the Nets were to bring back Irving and Durant, they would have a pretty strong roster heading into next season. 

“If the Nets bring back Irving and Durant, they’ll have one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference on paper. Irving, Durant, Ben SimmonsPatty MillsJoe HarrisSeth Curry and Nic Claxton and the Nets’ other returning players/additions make a strong roster,” Begley wrote.

Will Irving be Welcomed Back?

After last season’s drama in Brooklyn and the sloppy offseason, can the Nets have a solid season returning their core, or will it be messy? It’s hard to say. Each season Irving and Durant have been in Brooklyn has brought a degree of drama with them. However, the support from both new and old Nets teammates during the middle of the offseason is certainly an excellent sign. 

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Livid NBA Execs, Coaches Sound off on Kevin Durants Nets Demands

Getty Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets coach

As Kevin Durant is reportedly making ultimatums, he’s not making many friends in certain parts of the NBA.

But because of who he is, that may not matter even a bit.

It was reported here last week that Durant would be going directly to Nets’ owner Joe Tsai to voice his concerns — the same concerns that led him on June 30 to request a trade.

“There are some things that KD is unhappy about, and I’m not sure any of that gets fixed here,” a league executive told Heavy Sports in that story. “But maybe it does.”

Apparently not.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the meeting took place this past Saturday, and Durant indicated that he could stay with Brooklyn if general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash were no longer there.

In a meeting with Nets owner Joe Tsai, Kevin Durant reiterated his trade request and informed Tsai that Tsai needs to choose between Durant or the pairing of general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash, sources say.


— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 8, 2022

Durant Forced His Way to Brooklyn in 2019

Understandably, peers of Marks and Nash were not happy.

“I get that players have more power these days, but I think it’s a little too far if he’s out here trying to get Steve fired,” said one coach, who was quickly reminded of Magic Johnson’s fingerprints on Paul Westhead’s firing back in November of 1981 and other power plays, some of which may well have been justified.

The head of basketball ops from another club was similarly displeased.

“Livid,” he said. “Livid. He and Kyrie (Irving) basically told Sean they were coming (as free agents in 2019), and Sean did pretty much everything they wanted after that. Signing DeAndre Jordan for four years? That’s something Kyrie and KD wanted. Getting James Harden? Then getting a guy who should be a perfect complement to them (Ben Simmons) when Harden wanted out? Sean did all that.

“And now KD doesn’t like how it’s all worked out? There’s probably some other people he should talk to about that, maybe even a teammate,” he said, acknowledging that he was referring to Irving.

However, when asked if he would welcome Durant to his own club should he be attainable at a fair price, the exec paused and laughed.

“Well … ” he said. “OK, you got me there.

“But, see, that’s the part of this that will always be hard for some people to grasp. I’m talking about the fans who just see the players as employees. These guys are not interchangeable parts. You can’t just plug in someone else to do what KD does. Just getting to the NBA makes you a pretty damn rare talent, but guys like KD and LeBron and the other superstars going back in history, they’re even more than that. That’s why they get paid what they do and why they have the power that they do.”

Nets Owner Won’t Cave to Durant Demands

But the Nets’ owner isn’t yielding to Durant’s position on a trade or management restructuring — not yet, and not publicly anyway.

On Monday night, Joe Tsai appeared to side with Marks and Nash, tweeting, “Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”

Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.

— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) August 8, 2022

That could mean he will push Marks harder to meet Durant’s trade demand, or that the Nets will proceed with their current asking price and start the season with KD on the roster — and, the club would hope, on the court — if an acceptable deal isn’t found.

“At this point, it’s hard to see Brooklyn caving to KD on Steve and Sean,” said a league source. “That would look really bad for them. I could definitely see them coming down a bit from all the stuff they’re asking for in a trade, but the people I’m talking to around the league think they might just wait things out. They’re in a [expletive] situation, and they still have to deal with Kyrie. But for right now, they’re holding the cards.”


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