Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have each had their fair share of well-documented differences with their teammates, but one retired NBA player who shared a locker room with both does not envision any of that carrying over now that they are joining forces with the Brooklyn Nets.
Kendrick Perkins, who played with Durant in Oklahoma City and Irving in Cleveland, told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that it will be “great for KD and Kyrie to be in the New York area.” He also said Durant was not feeling appreciated enough with the Golden State Warriors.
“I have no doubt they will co-exist,” Perkins said of Irving and Durant. “Kyrie needs to be able to play freely and just be himself and let KD be the leader and the playmaker. I think Kyrie will fall in line. After he left Cleveland he called ‘(LeBron James) to apologize to him. He realized that he is not that dude and that he needs to play alongside a guy like KD.”
The last part will probably be the most interesting storyline to watch in Brooklyn. Perkins added that Durant has finally “got his own team,” but you have to wonder if Irving views it that way. While it’s true that he called LeBron last season to apologize for how he acted in Cleveland, that does not mean he wants to take a back seat to Durant. Irving is confident in his abilities, and he probably thinks he’s the same caliber of player as Durant.
Perkins’ assessment of the situation essentially confirms what was reported about Durant’s desire to leave Golden State, but very few people would be surprised if he experienced some growing pains with Irving — especially since Kyrie is going to play a full season with the Nets before Durant even touches the floor. That could make things more complicated than they are anticipating.