Kyrie Irving was in no mood to mask his delight when quizzed on news that Kevin Durant was leaving Brooklyn in a trade to join Phoenix Suns.
An ESPN report revealed that Durant and T.J. Warren are set to move to the Valley in a blockbuster trade, with Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder and four first-round picks heading to Brooklyn in exchange.
Irving, who was dealt to the Mavericks on Sunday after requesting a trade from the Nets, was asked for his reaction in real-time to the bombshell report that Durant was following him out of Barclays Center – and the former Duke star is thrilled the two are now ‘in places we can thrive’.
‘We had a lot of conversations throughout the year of, you know, what our future is going to look like. There was still a level of uncertainty,’ Irving said Wednesday night, after putting up 24 points, four rebounds and five assists in his Dallas debut, a 110-104 win over the Clippers..
‘But, we just cared about seeing each other be places that we can thrive, and whether that be together, whether that be apart, there’s never been one moment where I’ve felt like he’s been angry at me for decisions I’ve made or I’ve been angry at him. We just tried to understand each other a lot better and grow as human beings, grow as brothers.’
Kyrie Irving (left) is thrilled at news that Kevin Durant (right) is ‘leaving Brooklyn’ via a trade
He added: ‘This business changes so quickly. He’s getting a little bit older. I’m getting a little bit older. I just love the competition now that we can be in the same conference and I welcome all that. Get to see him a little bit more, probably playing against Phoenix a lot more.
‘That’s what I’m looking forward to. Everything else in between, I’m just glad that he got out of there.’
The entire NBA feared their championship aspirations would be parked for years when the Nets built an offensive juggernaut of Irving, Durant and James Harden in January 2021.
Now, two years later, Harden is with the Philadelphia 76ers, Irving is with the Dallas Mavericks and Durant is reportedly heading for Phoenix.
But the trio were never all healthy and have no championships to show for their short time together.
They played together only 16 times – going 13-3 in that stretch. The Nets were 5-1 in the playoffs with all three on the floor.
Now the Nets are heading for complete rebuild mode and Irving, who felt he was not shown enough respect in Brooklyn, has revealed the Big Three’s exit was long time in the making.
A bombshell report overnight has detailed how Durant is heading to Phoenix to join the Suns
Brooklyn built a big three of Durant, Irving (left) and James Harden (right) but all three are now on – or heading in the case of Durant – to new teams in a failed Super Team experiment
‘I think this was in the works, like, after year one. I wasn’t sure about whether or not I wanted to be in Brooklyn long term, again, because of things that was happening behind the scenes,’ Irving continued.
‘I just did my best to put my head down and work as hard as I could. There were some unfortunate circumstances that came up there that were out of my control.
‘Whether it be the mandate with the vaccine or missing games, me suspended or, you know, just little things that I think, you know, just put just wrenches in our journey.’
All eyes will now be on how Irving and Durant lift their new teams in a stacked Western Conference.
Durant headed to Brooklyn along with Irving in 2019, having won two titles with Stephen Curry as his running mate in Golden State.
Now the duo, going head to head with competing franchises, will battle against Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets, Ja Morant and the Grizzlies and Zion Williamson and the Pelicans, as well as LeBron James’ Lakers out west.
In under three seasons in Brooklyn, Durant averaged 29 points, 5.8 assists while shooting 40 per cent from three-point range.
Irving (left) and Harden (right) barely played together and there was an underlying tension
Brooklyn’s big three of Ben Simmons (left), Irving and Durant never produced quite as hoped
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