NBA

Durant hoping to move past 'unfortunate' and 'unnecessary' Irving suspension

By Sports Desk November 04, 2022

Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant said the Kyrie Irving situation "sucks all around for everybody", but is hoping all involved can soon move on.

Irving was suspended for a minimum of five games by the Nets on Thursday, in light of his unapologetic response to the widespread backlash for allegedly endorsing a film that Nets owner Joe Tsai said was "full of anti-Semitic disinformation".

On Wednesday, the Nets and Irving each donated $500,000 towards causes and organisations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities, but after the 30-year-old stopped short of apologising during a media session on Thursday, Brooklyn suspended the former Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers guard.

For his part, Durant suggested he did not feel the situation had been handled well, labelling it "unnecessary".

"I ain't hear to judge nobody or talk down on nobody for how they feel, their views or anything, I just didn’t like anything that went on," said Durant.

"I feel like it was all unnecessary. I felt like we could have just kept playing basketball and kept quiet as an organisation. I just don't like none of it.

"It's an unfortunate situation for people that are impacted by this situation. It just sucks all around for everybody. Hopefully we can move past it.

"That's just the way of the NBA now. Media, so many outlets now and their stories hit pretty fast now. That's where all the chaos is coming from, from everybody's opinions. Everybody has an opinion on this situation and we're hearing it nonstop.

"But once the balls start bouncing and we get into practice none of that stuff seeps into the gym. So that's the cool part about being in the league.

"But once you step off the court, everyone got the microphones out and the microscopes looking at you asking you what you feel about it. That's been difficult. But the game is the constant for us."

Durant subsequently tweeted to clarify that his comments in Thursday's media gathering were in no way an endorsement of Irving's actions.

"Just wanna clarify the statements I made at shootaround, I see some people are confused," Durant tweeted.

"I don't condone hate speech or anti-semetism [sic], I'm about spreading love always. Our game unites people and I wanna make sure that's at the forefront."

Related items

  • LeBron James to sit out Warriors clash due to ankle problem LeBron James to sit out Warriors clash due to ankle problem

    LeBron James has been ruled out of the Los Angeles Lakers' road game against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday as he continues to nurse an ankle problem.

    James has been suffering from peroneal tendinopathy in his left ankle, and the issue caused him to miss the Lakers' 138-122 road win over the Utah Jazz before the All-Star break.

    The NBA's all-time leading scorer did feature in Sunday's All-Star Game, but he was limited to just 14 minutes on the court as the Western Conference All-Stars lost 211-186 to their Eastern Conference counterparts.

    James said before Sunday's game that he would use the break to undergo treatment on his ankle, also suggesting his status for Thursday's trip to Chase Center was uncertain.

    On Wednesday, the Lakers announced he had officially been downgraded to out, causing him to miss his eighth game of the season.

    James had 36 points, 20 rebounds and 12 assists as the Lakers beat the Warriors in a double overtime classic last month, and the 39-year-old is averaging 24.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game this season.

    Prior to the trade deadline earlier this month, the Warriors reportedly enquired about James' availability, only to be knocked back by Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.

    James said last week that he wishes to finish his glittering career in Los Angeles, though he is yet to decide whether to take up his $51.4million player option for 2024-25.

    Thursday's matchup could prove crucial to the playoff hopes of both teams, with the Lakers emerging from the mid-season hiatus at 30-26 and the Warriors having a 27-26 record. 

  • Marks: Nets must improve 'level of compete' after Vaughn firing Marks: Nets must improve 'level of compete' after Vaughn firing

    Sean Marks says the Brooklyn Nets must improve their "level of compete" after head coach Jacque Vaughn was fired.

    Vaughn was dismissed on Monday after the Nets lost 136-86 to the Boston Celtics last week, leaving Brooklyn at 21-33 and 11th in the Eastern Conference heading into the All-Star break.

    The Nets had made the postseason in the last five seasons, but a 6-18 run has left the team with it all to do if they are to keep their playoff streak going.

    Nets general manager Sean Marks pointed to a perceived lack of effort as one area that must be fixed by the new head coach.

    "It's about the level of compete," Marks told reporters. "We're not going to be the most talented team in the league. I'm not an idiot. I totally understand that.

    "But at the same time, this is a talented group of young men out there. And my expectations, and I think their expectations, should be to hold each other accountable to do the little things. The effort plays, the loose balls, the contested shots and so forth, diving on the floor.

    "These are things that should be expected when you're in a place that we're at right now, where we're clawing and grappling for every single thing we can. That's what I would hope to see over these next 28 games, and that's probably, to be quite frank, some things I haven't seen. The level of effort and the level of compete has not always been there."

    Many pointed to the Nets' 144-122 defeat against the Milwaukee Bucks as the reason for Vaughn's firing. The Nets were fined $100,000 for violating the NBA's player participation policy after choosing to both rest and sit a number of key players.

    However, Marks said the Bucks drubbing was not the reason for Vaughn's exit, commenting: "I don't think we lost the team that day.

    "I appreciate the fact that players want to play. They want to play night in and night out.

    "Again, I don't think there was one decision that ultimately affected the record or [making] this decision this day. I think a lot of things went into that."

  • Timberwolves looking to 'maintain edge' at top of West after All-Star break Timberwolves looking to 'maintain edge' at top of West after All-Star break

    The Minnesota Timberwolves are top of the Western Conference but know they will have to "maintain that edge" as they return to action following the NBA All-Star break.

    Minnesota have not been beyond the first round of the playoffs in 20 years, yet they are in position to earn the number one seed through 55 games, boasting a 39-16 record and a 1.5-game lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    The All-Star break has been a busy one for the T-Wolves, with Chris Finch coaching the West outfit, which included Anthony Edwards and team-mate Karl Anthony Towns, who scored 50 points.

    The team have also agreed a two-year contract extension with guard Mike Conley Jr., according to reports. He had been set for free agency at the end of the season.

    Finch is now hoping he will find a focused team in Minnesota as they seek to build on a superb start to the year.

    "We've just got to try to pick up where we left off," he said. "We know the intensity in these games are going to ramp up more and more.

    "We've got to make sure that we maintain that edge. We've done a good job of developing a good offensive rhythm in the past few weeks, so we've got to maintain that.

    "Hold serve at home; we've got a lot of home games coming up here out of the break. There's lots of things we can do to keep furthering ourselves."

    There was an unfamiliar feeling for Finch in the All-Star Game, seeing his team handily beaten by the East in an encounter that drew criticism for its lack of competitive play.

    The format may no longer be widely popular, but Finch certainly enjoyed the rare opportunity to coach players like LeBron James and Stephen Curry.

    "Looking around the locker room, there's probably 12 first-ballot Hall of Famers in there," he said. "It's something I'll remember forever."

    The Timberwolves return against the Milwaukee Bucks at Target Center on Friday.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.