A few months ago, in March, Logan Murdock of The ringtraveled to Brooklyn to research a profile of Kevin Durant, titled “Let It Go”, a study of how KD became Zen, learned to relax.
“I used to worry about expectations,” KD told Murdock, “but now I’m solid and confident in what I bring.”
So, Murdock is someone worth listening to when he talks about Durant and in a sobering podcast (for Nets fans) with fellow Ringer Kevin O’Connor and an article for the website. of Bill Simmons, he spoke extensively about the Nets superstar’s current situation in Brooklyn and how KD doesn’t trust the front office, presumably Sean Marks and Joe Tsai, “right now.”
Few of Murdock’s views were optimistic if you’re a Nets fan. Indeed, he called the franchise’s current situation “destructive” on the podcast and suggested perhaps more forcefully than other pundits that Durant might indeed be quitting. “The vision is about to collapse,” he wrote.
“It didn’t have to be like that,” he said, summarizing. “This team…and it’s ironic. Kevin came to reconcile relations, to build relationships with his best friends and it does not work. It does the exact opposite. And you juxtapose that with Golden State winning…”
“Now you have reports that Kyrie is looking elsewhere. I made a few calls. Kevin Durant hasn’t spoken to the team in weeks. I don’t think Kevin is confident in the front office right now. I don’t know if he’s about to leave, but there’s a lot of unease not only on Kyrie’s side, but also on KD’s side.
And Murdock reiterated reports that Durant, who had signed free agents in the past, no longer does so.
“At least right now, he’s one of those guys who doesn’t want to recruit, isn’t in a position to recruit or doesn’t feel in a position to recruit, whether you like it or not.
At the center of it all, Murdock repeatedly pointed to the Nets’ relationship with Irving.
“His biggest problem is that he feels the front office hasn’t learned to understand Kyrie, whatever that means. But I think KD thinks “hey, you didn’t understand this guy”. You didn’t try to understand where he was coming from.
Additionally, Murdock pointed to the Nets’ decision to get rid of Adam Harrington, their longtime assistant coach and director of development, as a big negative for KD. Durant and Harrington date back to KD’s days in Oklahoma City when Harrington was his shooting coach.
“And here’s another thing, KOC, the Nets got rid of Adam Harrington. who is very close to Kevin. He’s one of Kevin’s guys. And that had a big ripple effect on how Kevin feels about it right now. He’s still in that discovery mode, but there’s fire in that smoke that he kind of reevaluates where he’s at.
Overall, The Ringer writer said he thought KD had the same attitude with Irving as he did with James Harden when the other member of “The Big Three” decided to ask out of the Nets. It’s the player’s choice. But he also thinks Durant harbors some ill will toward the Nets organization.
“I think Kevin is using the same approach he used with… when James Harden left, Kevin was, ‘That’s what he did. I can’t blame him for that decision because I made the decision to go into free agency so I can’t blame anybody for doing something that I would do I think he has the same attitude towards Kyrie because from what I’ve of course, they are still quite close.
“And I think, I think, I think Kevin is blaming the front office for not handling him as well as they could rather than blaming Kyrie himself. I think that’s where we are now.
However, Murdock also pushes back against the idea that it all happens at the front office. This is, after all, Kevin Durant’s team.
“I think in a lot of ways he’s more on Kyrie’s side than on the front office side in this one and sometimes I have to put that off because, like Kevin, he came to Brooklyn to play with Kyrie. His influence on this organization is so great.
“It’s hard for me to hear ‘aw man, the organization this, this and that.’ the organization could have done it. Pretty much the team for the last two years to start the season was built in Kevin’s vision. So it’s hard to wash your hands of it.
Still, Durant believes the Nets weren’t particularly supportive of Irving when they decided not to play him at all in October, after he refused to get vaccinated like all but a handful of NBA players. then brought it back in October.
“That’s exactly how he feels. “Hey man, I brought this guy in, him and Kyrie, and the front office didn’t do enough to support him at a time when we needed to support him.”
(The Nets, of course, repeatedly lobbied the city and state over vaccination mandates that kept Irving out of Barclays Center.)
Murdock also hints that the schism within the organization is nothing new, having seen the beginnings of the current malaise during his visit to the HSS Training Center.
“When I was there in March, you could see the seeds of… It just wasn’t good, man. It didn’t seem like a working environment,” Murdock told O’Connor. “It didn’t seem like a plan. It looked like a team whose plan went to shit. And I think that’s the story of this franchise.
While Murdock doesn’t believe Durant is about to leave, he thinks Irving will be gone. “I think he’s just gonna go away eventually, man,” adding “I think we’re at the stage of the list where to go.”
And his point of view on the Nets? “I think the Nets are lucky to be very different on opening night next year.”