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Kyrie Irving Describes How He Felt After Kevin Durant Requested Trade

Sports Illustrated 9/26/2022 Joseph Salvador
© Provided by Sports Illustrated

Irving discussed his perspective on the Nets’ tumultuous offseason Monday.

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The Nets’ tumultuous offseason is almost over, and on Monday Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving addressed everything that happened over the summer. The biggest storyline was Durant’s trade request and his eventual return to the fold in Brooklyn. Although it was an uncertain time for fans, Irving had a signature reaction. 

“It was just a lot. Like, hearing Kev wanted a trade request, I opt in, it’s awkward,” Irving said. “It’s very awkward. I’m sitting at home, like, I don’t know what to think of it, but because there’s a trust that we have within each other, I just ultimately want to see him do well and be happy. So, if that wasn’t within our organization, I was gonna have to accept that and move on.”

Last season, the squad had championship hopes with Irving, Durant and James Harden on the roster, but drama plagued the team. Durant missed significant time with a sprained MCL, and Irving didn’t play for much of the season due to his lack of vaccination against COVID-19. Harden was unhappy with the situation and was traded to the 76ers for Ben Simmons. At season’s end, Irving opted into his $37 million player option. Not long after that, Durant requested to be dealt. 

Irving also addressed his refusal to get vaccinated and how it affected him.  

“I didn’t appreciate how me being unvaccinated all of a sudden came to be a stigma within my career that I don’t want to play, or I’m willing to give up everything to be a voice for the voiceless,” he said.

After all the drama, the Nets still boast an extremely talented roster. If healthy, they almost certainly will be a force in the Eastern Conference.

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