Kyrie Irving is apparently showing more effort in his single-person pursuit of Kevin Durant this summer than he displayed on the defensive side of the floor all season long. The two superstars have met twice in recent weeks, according to Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher. League sources say they got together shortly after Durant had injured his calf in the playoffs, and then met again in New York following Durant’s surgery to repair his ruptured Achilles tendon.
While Durant will spend next season rehabbing, he is still expected to receive maximum offers on the free agent market. Irving, who reportedly wants to play for the Nets, is pressing Durant to join him in Brooklyn, per Bucher. The NBA Insider says center DeAndre Jordan is part of Irving’s recruiting efforts as well.
Though the Celtics and Irving haven’t officially parted ways, he appears all but gone. The mercurial point guard has reportedly been “ghosting” the Celtics and not communicating with team brass. Bucher says Irving and Danny Ainge didn’t get along last season, though he didn’t offer specific details about their apparent falling out.
Durant also doesn’t seem to be in a good place with the Warriors. Bucher says Durant is “really pissed off” about how his calf injury was handled during the NBA Finals. The All-Star returned prematurely for Game 5, which is when he blew out his Achilles.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr says he was told there was no risk of Durant further injuring himself. Clearly, the team doctors were wrong.
Even with Durant projected to miss next season, it would be a colossal nightmare for the Celtics if he and Irving teamed up for an Eastern Conference rival. Ainge can talk about the need to acquire humble players, as he did Monday, but personality doesn’t make up for talent.