Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant teaming up and signing with the Brooklyn Nets in NBA free agency last summer was just one chapter in a friendship that started years ago.
One of the first public indications that Irving and Durant could potentially join forces came at the 2019 NBA All-Star Game when the two players were captured on video having a conversation in a hallway at Spectrum Center in Charlotte.
The infamous video sparked so much speculation and different theories about what would come next for both players with free agency only a few months away.
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Irving was playing for the Boston Celtics at the time, and despite saying in October that he planned to re-sign with the C's, his comments throughout the season suggested that might not be the case. Durant was in his final season with the Golden State Warriors, with whom he won two championships in three NBA Finals appearances.
Durant and Irving recently talked about that video on the first episode of KD's new podcast titled “The ETCs with Kevin Durant”.
“The All Star game video -- where they caught us in the hallway. That’s when it was solidified that we were going somewhere," Durant said. "They didn’t know for a fact where it was. But it was somewhere.”
Irving, you might remember, was agitated when asked about the All-Star video after returning to the Celtics.
The popular theory at the time was that this duo would wind up with the New York Knicks. The Knicks had enough salary cap space for two max contract players, as well as a strong chance at winning the No. 1 pick in the Zion Williamson draft of 2019.
Durant and Irving instead signed with the Knicks' crosstown rivals, the Nets. Neither player made much of an impact during the 2019-20 season due to injuries, though. Durant missed the entire year with a torn Achilles suffered in the 2019 playoffs with the Warriors, and Irving didn't return after shoulder surgery in March.
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Irving joked on this podcast episode that he and Durant going to Brooklyn together was “one of the biggest surprise moves in NBA history. Nobody ever thought it would happen.”
Expectations will be sky high and the pressure will be immense for the Nets entering next season. Durant and Irving will be NBA teammates for the first time and Steve Nash will be on the bench as a rookie head coach.
It's clear in this episode of Durant's podcast that he's built a great relationship with Irving, but will that translate to championship success on the court? We'll soon find out.