Kyrie Irving had a dream debut with the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, scoring 24 points en route to a 110-104 win over the LA Clippers, but his impressive performance was quickly overshadowed by the devastating news that the Brooklyn Nets had agreed to change. his former teammate Kevin Durant at the Phoenix Suns.
After the game, Irving was asked how it felt to be in the same conference as Durant, to which he gave a lengthy answer about his relationship with the 13-time All-Star.
“It’s not the first time we’re going to be in competition as brothers,” Irving told reporters. “I’m just praying for his happiness, praying for his well-being. We had a lot of conversations throughout the year about what our future would look like. There was still a level of uncertainty.
“But we just cared about seeing each other in places where we can thrive, whether it’s together or apart. There’s never been a time when I’ve felt like he’s been mad at me for the choices I’ve made, or I’ve been angry We just tried to understand each other a lot better and grow as human beings and grow as brothers.
“This business changes so quickly and he’s getting a little bigger, I’m getting a little bigger, and I love the competition now that we can be in the same conference,” Irving continued. “I welcome all of that. I get to see him a bit more as I’m sure we’ll be playing a lot more with Phoenix, so that’s what I’m looking forward to.
“Everything in between, I’m glad I got out of there.”
One might think that Irving’s trade request was the motivating factor behind the Durant trade, but according to Irving, he and Durant had been planning their exits since their first season together in 2021.
“I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to be in Brooklyn long-term after some things that happened behind the scenes,” Irving said. “I did my best to keep my head down and work as hard as I could. There were some unfortunate circumstances up there that were out of my control, whether it was the mandate with the vaccine or missing games due to suspensions, I think. just put keys in our journey.”
Irving also defended the Nets’ failed “Big 3” experiment with James Harden, citing the lack of games they played together.
“I would have liked this to work out in the long run, but there are no mistakes or coincidences,” Irving said. “You have to move forward.”
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