Kevin Durant cannot be happy.
On Tuesday, we learned that after already missing four games, Kyrie Irving won't be back for the Brooklyn Nets any time soon. He's taking an extended personal leave from the team, but did find time to get in what appeared to be a maskless birthday party with his family. Frankly, this is what Durant gets for trying to team up with Irving, a guy who has constantly sabotaged his own teams.
Durant and Irving played nice all offseason, lauding each other and projecting the image of a happy partnership. Irving even said he finally felt like he had a clutch teammate to run with. But neither Irving, nor Durant stay happy long, so this partnership was bound to go down in flames sooner or later. That process may have already started after Irving went AWOL on his coach last week without warning. Right now, in this moment, despite saying all the right things, Durant has to be fuming.
Brooklyn was sold on bringing in two perennial All-Stars to lead the way as they conquered New York's basketball market. The Nets believed in it so much that they paid Durant $37.2 million just to rehab his ruptured right Achilles tendon last season. The franchise expected to immediately compete for an NBA title when he was finally healthy this season and was able to join Irving, Joe Harris, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, DeAndre Jordan and the rest of the squad. Yeah, about that...
The Nets have started 5-6 and look nothing like the world-beating super-team that was promised, especially after Durant missed time due to COVID protocols and Spencer Dinwiddie tore his ACL. Durant is putting up good numbers -- 29.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists -- but he's played in seven games and Brooklyn has lost four of them. The Nets are only 4-3 when Irving has played. Nothing is working right now.
It takes times for great players to learn to play together and, in a short season, the Nets are wasting time with Irving out. I don't doubt that he has real issues with playing right now given what's going on the country -- and mental health issues are of paramount importance -- but let's be real, the guy walked out on his team without an explanation. Then days later he was maskless at a party with family, which means he'll be out even longer given the NBA's quarantine protocols. That ain't the best look from Irving.
Durant went to Brooklyn to win titles with another superstar. He's been left holding the bag while the perpetually unreliable Irving has gone off on his own. KD has to at least be reconsidering the decision to tie his future in with Kyrie's.