Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will be teammates on the Brooklyn Nets, and joining forces isn't something that recently came to fruition.
Howard Beck of Bleacher Report has the details:
Durant and Irving were going to play together, somewhere, in 2019. That's what they resolved over a series of conversations before this season even began, according to knowledgeable sources.
This probably won't sit well with some Warriors fans, but it isn't why the team fell short of the three-peat. Despite the fact that Durant had basically already decided to bounce, he was playing some of the best basketball of his career before sustaining the calf injury against the Rockets in the second round of the playoffs.
Many people in the basketball world anointed him to "best player in the world" status.
The 10-time All-Star was fully committed to winning a third consecutive championship, which probably would have happened if he was fully healthy.
But this does mean that all the speculation and smoke about KD leaving the Warriors was very credible. Nothing was going to keep the two-time NBA Finals MVP in the Bay.
It simply became a matter of where he and Kyrie were going to sign.
As Marcus Thompson of The Athletic reported Sunday night:
Multiple sources have said for months Durant and Kyrie Irving planned on being teammates. Durant wanted them to join the Knicks together while Irving preferred they take over Brooklyn. They are now both Nets.
This also means that the verbal altercation between KD and Draymond Green on Nov. 12 in Los Angeles did not push the two-time NBA Finals MVP out the door. It certainly created more tension and unhappiness, but it isn't why Durant decided to bolt.
Speaking of drama, here's another anecdote from Beck:
Durant had grown weary of the perpetual drama in Golden State, even while leading the Warriors to two straight championships. What some found refreshing about the Warriors — their big personalities, their outspokenness on both on- and off-court issues — Durant found distracting. He wanted a team that placed basketball above all else.
And he wanted to escape the draining debate about whether the Warriors were Stephen Curry's team or his.
Plain and simple, Durant didn't see a future with the Warriors for many reasons. He helped bring two titles to the franchise and now wants something different.
Warriors fans should wish him well and good luck as he recovers from Achilles surgery.