LAS VEGAS — The uncertain status of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving is weighing on the Nets’ offseason, with a chance the two disgruntled stars will still be with the team as training camp begins. But the young players on the roster don’t seem to be holding their breath.
The Nets are gearing up to announce the Las Vegas Summer League on Friday against the Bucks, with Durant’s trade demand dominating all headlines. Talk to young Nets who played with Durant and Irving last season, and they project more an air of resignation to reality than any hope of rolling it back.
“Yes, they have been very useful to me during the season. So whether I’m with them or not, I think I’ll always remember what they taught me in my freshman year and what all the veterans told me,” Kessler Edwards said afterward. training on Thursday. “So I’m glad I got to experience that in my freshman year. I will always keep this stuff with me.
Edwards had said on Chris Carrino’s midweek podcast ‘Voice of the Nets’ that Durant and Irving gave him pregame pep talks that boosted his confidence, and the sophomore pro admitted that he might not have that feeling anymore.
“Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, those guys [gave me] a lot of confidence and they talked to me a lot before games,” Edwards said on the podcast. “It’s a feeling I’ll probably never have again.”
Durant has kept a low profile since asking for a trade a week ago. The drama retarded Freedom of Action, dominating the back pages, the airwaves and the news cycle. But apparently not the daily chatter of the Nets’ summer league roster.
“Yeah, I’m watching everything too. We don’t really talk about it; wait and see what happens,” Edwards said. “Just focused on this summer league.”
Perhaps more than any other Net, Cam Thomas — who led the summer league in scoring last year as a rookie to earn co-MVP honors — was taken under Durant’s wing. Beneath their humorous conversation lay a mentor-mentee relationship, in which Durant and Irving took the offensively gifted guard under their respective wings.
Now Thomas seems fully aware that he will have to leave the nest. Or more precisely, the nest may be leaving it.
“Yeah, just him and Kyrie really, I connected with those two a lot. So those two are my brothers no matter what. I always call them or text them about something,” a said Thomas. “So, you know, it is what it is. It’s part of the business. Hope everything works out in our favor. But you just have to move on in life. It’s like that.”
But the big question is: Did Durant or Irving text him back?
Yahoo Sports and TNT reporter Chris Haynes said on his ‘Posted Up’ podcast that Durant had “gone dark”, not responding to other NBA stars who reached out to him last week to touch base and assess their interest in being traded with their teams.
Essentially, Durant has largely gone underground.
“I texted him last week; that was the last time I spoke to him,” Thomas said. “I haven’t spoken to him since, though.”
Adam Caporn — who was the head coach of the Long Island Nets and is elevated to an assistant on Steve Nash’s team — coaches the Nets in the summer league. He said he had not told his young players about the Durant-Irving melodrama and claimed he had no intention of doing so.
As the entire NBA world checks its alerts, watches the ticker on ESPN, and clings to every bit of news, Thomas insisted he wasn’t.
“No. But I mean, it is what it is. It’s part of the business,” Thomas said. been at this point.