Kevin Durant will be remembered in a variety of ways when his NBA career eventually is over.
Stephen A. Smith thinks one of those ways will be as the guy who chose Kyrie or Steph.
Three-and-a-half years later, the Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving-Kevin Durant experiment is over. The Nets agreed to Irving’s trade request Sunday, sending him to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and three picks.
In 2019, it was clear that the Nets were making a gamble when they brought in Durant and Irving, the latter of whom was coming off a messy exit from the Celtics. What ensued in Brooklyn was wire-to-wire chaos, with the end result being one postseason series win.
When Durant joined the Nets, he was leaving behind an elite group in Steph Curry and the Warriors. It was a widely criticized decision at the time, and the Warriors winning a title in the time Durant has been in Brooklyn has only emphasized what a mistake that was from an on-court standpoint.
From a legacy standpoint, Smith said on “Know Mercy” that Durant will be remembered for that decision.
“Kevin Durant doesn’t walk away from this unscathed, you know why?" Smith said. "Because as I said last year, I'll say it again, fair or unfair to him, it’s not about leaving Golden State to go to Brooklyn. Kevin Durant is going to be known as the dude who walked away from the champion that is Steph Curry to the champion that is Kyrie Irving.
“He chose Kyrie Irving over Steph Curry. That is how Kevin Durant is going to be viewed. And whatever Kyrie did, clearly he didn’t have Kevin Durant in mind, he did what was best for Kyrie. Kevin Durant bet his future on Kyrie, and now that Kyrie is gone, now the next shoe to drop, presumably, is Kevin Durant is going to ask out. …
“It’s an indictment against both of them. Kyrie for all of his shenanigans, and Kevin Durant for trusting him. And I feel bad saying that about KD, because that’s his man, and of course you’re going to trust your boy. And I don’t enjoy saying it about Kyrie, because I want to see Kyrie play as often as I possibly can because it is a privilege to watch him play, he is spectacular.”
Sean Marks and Joe Tsai were taking a big risk years ago when they brought the duo in, that was evident then. So too was the potential upside, and back then the Nets clearly thought that was worth the potential drawbacks.
Nearly four years later it’s clear that it wasn’t, and plenty of parties were impacted by that miscalculation.
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