Kyrie Irving returned to play basketball in New Jersey on Thursday night, the Brooklyn Nets posted videos and photos from the night and a rapprochement between the two camps seems to be taking shape.
The West Orange native and ex-St. The Patrick School star held his “More Than A Run” All-Star Game in front of a crowd of more than 2,000 at Kean University, including Nets teammates Royce O’Neale, Kessler Edwards and David Duke.
“With so much going on in the world, it was great to have Kyrie and some of New Jersey’s all-time greatest players coming out and putting so many smiles on kids’ and adults’ faces,” said said Kean’s athletic director, Kelly Williams. “This event was about giving back and I know so many people enjoyed the evening. Everyone left with a smile!!”
Perhaps most importantly, the Nets’ official Instagram account posted videos and photos from the night.
There has been no comment from the Irving camp — or the Nets — since late June, when Irving decided to go for his $36.9 million player option and said he would “fulfill his four-year commitment to the Nets and Kevin Durant.”
“Normal people move the world forward, but those who dare to be different lead us into tomorrow,” Irving said then. according to The athletic. “I’ve made my decision to sign up. See you in the fall.”
His opt-in came after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Irving had “great interest in joining the Lakers” while the Daily News reported that Irving had been cleared to seek business partners. to find a new home.
Prior to that, Nets general manager Sean Marks had held off on signing Irving for an extension due to his inability to stay on the field in recent years. He played 103 games for the Nets and missed 123.
“We need people here who want to be here. … We’re looking for guys who want to come here and be something bigger than themselves, play selflessly, play basketball as a team and be available,” Marks said after the Nets were swept out of the playoffs. by the Celtics. “And that goes for not just Kyrie but everyone here.”
Still, here we are at the beginning of August and SNY’s Ian Begley reported this week that “A source close to Irving said this week that the seven-time All-Star is in good shape with the Nets and at the comfortable going into the 2022-23 season.”
NJ Advance Media reported last month that Irving and Durant “knew” that a trade is “unlikely” to occur.
“They know behind the scenes that it’s difficult, that it’s unlikely to happen,” a league source said.
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Durant requested a trade on June 30 despite signing a four-year extension last year, but after an initial period when it looked like he could be sold to Phoenix or Miami, trade talks stalled and a report had Durant meeting this week with Nets owner Joe Tsai. SNY reported that the Nets were “pessimistic” about reaching a Durant deal.
“Nobody wants to help (Brooklyn get a deal),” one team told SNY.
Now, it looks more and more like the Nets and Irving are making peace as they approach training camp this fall. As for Durant, only time will tell.
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Adam Zagoria is a freelance journalist who covers Seton Hall and NJ college basketball for NJ Advance Media. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamZagoria and check out his website at ZAGSBLOG.com.