BOSTON (CBS) — Kevin Durant’s future location of employment figures to be something that plays a rather significant role in Kyrie Irving’s future place of employment. As such, it’s no surprise to learn that the two NBA superstars have apparently been coordinating their free-agent efforts behind the scenes.
Bleacher Reports’ Ric Bucher reported Monday that Irving and Durant have held two separate meetings over the past month or so, in which they discussed their future options.
“Durant and Irving, league sources say, have met twice in recent weeks to discuss their desire to continue their careers on the same team, an idea forged while playing together on the U.S. national team,” Bucher wrote. “The first meeting took place in the Bay Area while Durant nursed a strained right calf; the second occurred in New York shortly after Durant had surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.”
Bucher added that Durant is “pissed off” with the Warriors for allowing him to play with his calf strain, which quickly turned into a ruptures Achilles.
Bucher also said that “league sources say [Irving] is pressing Durant to join him with the Nets and is trying to recruit [DeAndre] Jordan as well.”
And in an interesting tidbit, Bucher speculated on what caused Irving to have a change of heart over the course of the past season regarding his stated intention to re-sign with the Celtics.
“A source close to Irving points to a tiff with team president Danny Ainge about how Irving was attempting to lead the club,” Bucher said.
While the veracity of that aspect of the story can be questioned, the report about two separate meetings is noteworthy and interesting. Back in February, a video of Irving speaking to Durant in the hallway during All-Star weekend ended up going viral, with fans and media speculating that the two stars were discussing a possible playing future together. Irving ended up issuing some firm public commentary after that video hit the internet, expressing his frustration with the way such matters are handled and discussed.
“I’m a human being talking to another best friend of mine. Like, it’s just crazy. This is the stuff that just doesn’t make the league fun. Like, it doesn’t make the league fun. Nobody helps promote the league even more by doing bulls— like that, of just fictitious putting things on what we’re talking about. It’s just, it’s crazy. I guess that’s what you wanted, huh?” Irving said at the time. “What I do with my life is my business. So it’s none of yours, it’s not anybody’s business, right? So it’s a video of me and one of my best friends talking, and then it turns out to be a dissection of a free agency meeting? Do you get that? Like, do you get that? And then I’m asked questions about it? That’s what disconnects me from all that s—. Like, because I have no connection to that. Over a video? I’m asked a question about the fans, and you brought up the fans? Come on man. You do it for the likes and clicks. Everybody does. Everybody wants to hear me talk like this. Everybody wants to hear an athlete talk about bulls— like this. A video though? To pour water on it? It makes no sense. It just makes no sense. It’s not real life.”
Irving’s denial of free-agency discussions in February was quite firm, but the most recent report about Irving meeting with Durant while Durant was still a member of the Finals-bound Warriors does add some credence to that February speculation.
In any event, come Sunday afternoon, the entirety of the NBA’s free agency picture is sure to come into focus a bit better for all involved. Most of it just might hinge on the decisions made by Durant and, by extension, Irving.