Kevin Durant's stardom was a double-edged sword this past season with the Brooklyn Nets.
Praised when things go well, the former Texas Longhorns star also draws loads of criticism when falling short of what often seems like unreachable expectations. But a first-round sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics last month drew understandable backlash, as the Nets were a fan-favorite pick to contend for a title in the Eastern Conference.
Kyrie Irving & Kevin Durant
Since then, Durant, 33, has not been in contact with Brooklyn's front office, according to reports Wednesday. He's under contract until 2026, but a rift between the two parties could be brewing after the way things went this past season.
Durant's co-star and close friend, Kyrie Irving, has an uncertain future with the organization. His limited availability during his three seasons with the Nets has ranged from injury issues, personal reasons, and the decision to get unvaccinated, which kept him out of a large portion of Brooklyn's home games this past season.
Irving is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent next summer, but has a player option he can exercise that would allow him to test the market freely during the upcoming free agency cycle.
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Kevin Durant with Team USA
Perhaps Durant's lack of communication with the front office is a result of the team's unwillingness to commit to Irving long-term due to his pattern of availability issues. Should Irving leave, KD could look to follow the trend many superstars have followed in the past - demanding a trade until the front office has no choice but to get something of value in return.
Or, maybe Durant's reported silence means nothing at all. Always known to be a player and competitor that wears emotions on his sleeve, it's possible he's taking time away from it all in order to gather himself from the frustration that ensues after getting swept in the first round.
As one of the league's biggest superstars and one of the greatest players of all time, Durant's actions always draw major headlines. Time will tell if there really is a true rift between him and the Nets. And if there is, Brooklyn and Durant could soon enter a state of dispute that can only be solved with a change of scenery for the former Longhorn.
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