Count Kevin Durant among those who weren’t surprised that Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland and LeBron James’ shadow.
On The Bill Simmons podcast, Durant talked about how there’s no loyalty in the NBA and why it makes sense that Irving would want a new challenge at this stage in his career.
"When you're around LeBron James, there's so much that comes with that," Durant told Simmons. "Outside distractions and conversations and just noise that just comes around just from being around LeBron James. And Kyrie was at the point, like, 'All right, we lost the championship, this whole season's gonna be about if LeBron's gonna leave or not. I'm ready for a new challenge.'"
Durant went on to say that he can understand what Irving did and that it took courage. The Warriors star added that he thinks Irving will do well with the Celtics because he’s “a 6’3” Isaiah Thomas.”
“He did what he was supposed to do in Cleveland,” Durant told Simmons. “It’s on to the next chapter. I can really appreciate what he did. He stood up for himself, he showed a lot of courage, man, because it’s hard to take that type of criticism. When you just want to play ball. I feel him on that.”
What Durant is talking about is an understandable sentiment. It’s easy to see how Irving would want a chance to prove himself as his own star and not have his legacy defined by being LeBron’s running mate in Cleveland. Boston, where he’ll have a chance be a focal point of a team that is gunning for LeBron.
In the interview, Durant elaborated on there being no loyalty in the NBA, why other NBA players think so highly of Irving and more. You can read an excerpt of Durant’s interview here or listen to the entire show below: