Irving could opt-out of the final year of his current deal and test free agency this offseason, which led to speculation that Durant could request a trade out of Brooklyn should his teammate choose to sign elsewhere.
Durant and Irving both signed with the Nets as free agents in 2019, making Brooklyn an immediate favorite to contend for an NBA championship.
However, the Nets have failed to reach the Eastern Conference Finals since the duo joined the team, with Irving missing the majority of their first season together due to injuries and the 2021-22 regular season due to New York's COVID restrictions prohibiting him from playing in home games without being vaccinated.
ESPN's Nick Friedell reported on SportsCenter that he's "been told that" Durant and Irving aren't as close as most believe.
“At every turn publicly, [Kevin Durant] has been there to support [Kyrie Irving], to say we need Kyrie, to say Kyrie can win a title with me here in Brooklyn. But I can tell you, I’ve been talking to people in the organization the last couple of weeks, when they finally sit down and talk to Kevin throughout the summer, they are trying to figure out if Kevin saw what everybody else saw," Friedell said via SBNation. "The reason that whole season got sidetracked was because they couldn’t count on Kyrie, and they didn’t know if he was going to be out there. And the issue with Kevin is, he wants to win badly, he wants to be loyal to his friend. But I’ve been told that relationship, while very close, isn’t always as close as it appears to be.”
Irving has been reported to be open to possible sign-and-trade deals with the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers, none of which currently have the cap space to sign him without the Nets offering additional help, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports.