Not too long ago, one Los Angeles Lakers fan found his way into the Brooklyn Nets’ Practice at the Park event, got up close, and begged Kyrie Irving to join the Lake Show. With Uncle Drew going on the trade block months ago, but then coming off it months before that, this was a “hail mary” by all accounts.
However, he was not the only Nets star to ponder leaving the team this summer. Having requested a trade at one point only to later rescind it, Kevin Durant also teased opposing fans for a bit this summer.
Now, he’s the Irving treatment, with opposing fans asking him to join their team even while watching him drop 30+ points on it.
Last night, the Brooklyn Nets went toe to toe with the gritty Memphis Grizzlies from start to finish. Brooklyn lost the contest but contributed strongly toward what was a fantastic show for all basketball fans.
Both Durant and Irving finished with 37 points each, while Memphis’s Ja Morant and Desmond Bane both tallied 38 points each. In doing so, they became the first four players to rack up 35+ points in a game since 1983. It was also the first occurrence of sorts in a regulation game in NBA history.
The Grizzlies won 134-124, dropping the Nets to 1-2 for the season. But again, fans have to feel ecstatic about how their two stars performed. This was arguably the best 7-Eleven game we’ve had since those of the Boston playoff series in 2021.
For Memphis as well, Morant/Bane kept it an entertaining watch by all accounts. The game even resulted in a career-high for Bane. But before it all, some Memphis fans were more concentrated on recruiting Durant than the show about to unfold.
Prior to the tipoff, Durant went through a typical shoot around session with his teammates. During that warmup, Memphis fans got Durant’s attention, asking him to leave the Nets and join their team.
“Come to Memphis, KD,” said a pair of fans sitting court-side. “Come to Memphis baby. Come on. We want you.”
Much like Irving did with that Lakers fan, Durant subtly laughed off the abrupt recruitment attempt. He smiled back at the spectators before continuing his warmup and hoisting up a mid-range jumper.
Just a few days before Durant rescinded his trade request, the Grizzlies inquired about his availability according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. However, both sides never got close to a deal with Grit and Grind prioritizing the depth they’d need to sacrifice to bring on the Slim Reaper.
These fans seem to be holding onto that report like fool’s gold though. They still want Durant even with him no longer on the trade block.
However, not everyone is still looking to swipe away Durant. If you listen closely to the above video, you can hear another Grizzlies fans shout “no we don’t” in response to the fans who first called out to KD saying they do indeed want him.
Regardless, Durant, Irving, and the Nets as a whole will likely need to get used to this treatment from opposing fans as they move forward. Any time you dangle out an all-world talent above opposing fans, only to yank it back out of their reach, it won’t be easy to forget about — and you’ll see retaliation like this. It’s just human nature.
If the Nets struggle especially around the trade deadline, these calls for Durant and/or Irving to join other teams will grow louder as well. While these past recruiting efforts are not something to worry about now, any invigorating ones down the line perhaps from opposing players or executives will strike as cause for concern.
A fast start to the season ceases all that though. The Nets are sitting tight with a 1-2 record at this point, but have two games in as many days on their agenda this week. Even with those bouts begin against tough opponents such as the Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks, they resemble a chance to stack some wins fast and quiet these poachers.