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Good Word with Goodwill - KD & Kyrie’s run with Nets comes crashing down

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Following Kevin Durant’s trade request and Kyrie Irving’s likely exit from Brooklyn, Yahoo Sports senior NBA reporter Vincent Goodwill looks at the end of their era together — and what’s next for the two superstars.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

VINCENT GOODWILL: The Kevin Durant era in Brooklyn started with a bang, and it ends in a thud. He's requested a trade after all the nonsense that's occurred in this very short offseason. Kyrie Irving opted in. Kevin Durant says see ya. Yeah, he wants to go to Miami or Phoenix, most likely the Phoenix Suns, strong organizations, organizations with backbone, organizations that have built in leadership. He has relationships, Monty Williams.

He's been a competitor of Chris Paul for years now. In Miami, of course, we know about Eric Spoelstra, and Pat Riley, and Jimmy Butler. The Brooklyn Nets did everything Kevin Durant presumably wanted them to do, bringing in James Harden, excusing everything Kyrie Irving put them through, bringing in Steve Nash as a coach, but there's something to be said about an organization pushing back against even the star's demands because they know what's best, or at least displaying something that the star can trust and moving forward can prove in on that trust.

Kevin Durant now, whether you believe it or not, is still a top III player in the league, with Giannis, with Jokic, with Embiid, with Steph. He still wants to play for championships. He doesn't want the next four years guaranteed of his career to be spent in dysfunction, even if you can say rightfully that he helped create some of that dysfunction in Brooklyn. It's hard to see Kyrie Irving continuing on with this franchise. Don't be surprised if they use the stretch provision to stretch out the remaining $36, $37 million that he has to gain this season and cut bait with him altogether.

Who would want Kyrie Irving at this stage of his career, though? He does what he wants when he wants. Kevin Durant at least shows up to work. Kevin Durant at least is a performer at the highest stage. And you know, especially when looking at what the Golden State Warriors did in the NBA Finals, he wants to get back. So looking at the Phoenix Suns, a team that was slated to play the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals before they melted down against Dallas in the final two games of that series, it makes sense that he would want to be there.

Kevin Durant, I think, learned a valuable lesson here. He played 12 seasons with strong organizations in Oklahoma City and Golden State. Maybe he took that for granted. Perhaps he didn't always like the way that things were done, but there was comfort in the way that ownership, front office, and coaching staffs conducted itself. Brooklyn always seemed to be operating on the outside, on the fringes. They always seemed to be teetering a bit. And now, the Brooklyn Nets are in a position where they have to get the best return they can for a generational player still in his prime.

This is not Anthony Davis going from New Orleans to LA. This is more Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leaving Milwaukee and going to the Lakers in the middle of his prime, a few years away from Magic Johnson. No matter where Kevin Durant goes, best believe he will still be a top three player, still capable of playing championship basketball.