In two videos posted by the YES Network, Michael Grady gets Nets players to give an insiders’ view of how what Adrian Wojnarowski called “The Clean Sweep” came together, offering new perspectives.
And while Sean Marks talked about his “expectation” that Kevin Durant won’t return this season, KD seemed to indicate those expectations can change.
Irving spoke about how the prospect of coming home was his big motivation ... and how he recruited other players to make it all work. (In addition to KD and Jordan, Irving also pushed for Garrett Temple.)
“It’s very surreal for me being back home. It’s very surreal. I get choked up just thinking about it because it’s right over the bridge for me, right under the tunnel. I know my family is nearby and just having the connection to the Nets since I was a kid ... It’s a dream come true,” said Irving who grew up in West Orange, N.J.
“I’m like the go-getter on our team putting certain relationships together,” Irving said with a smile. “So when I think about it, it’s how do I get these guys to trust me with four years of their lives and their families while explaining to them, we have a chance to be great for the next few years...”
Of course, he too reached out to make sure Brooklyn was right for him. As Grady noted, Dinwiddie’s role got serious last December.
“A lot’s been made of the me and Kyrie thing,” said Dinwiddie. “We kind of hit it off all-star weekend in 2018 when I was in the skills challenge. During the season, some times you’re a sounding board, just a good ear and all I can do is tell the truth about Brooklyn.”
Durant suggested that playing with Irving was his motivation and pointed out that the two have known each other for more than a decade.
“Coming up through the AAU, through Nike and shoe brands, you just meet different executives and players. So he had a guy named Jeff Rogers at Nike who brought us into the business basically as 14 - 15-year-olds,” said Durant referring to the Nike Basketball Sports Marketing Director.
“That’s how we came together. When we played in the Finals, I didn’t realize how great Kyrie was until then. I had such respect for him. I wanted to be around that energy, to be around him as a person. It just grew from there.”
Jordan pointed out that the plan to join the Nets was not a given, that the three had talked about playing together previously.
“You have talks with different guys,” said Jordan who was KD and Kyrie’s teammate on the 2016 gold medal-winning team at the Rio Olympics. “Some of that stuff may fall through but this was actually something we stuck with and it was kind of fun to see it develop.”
Now, says Irving, there’s a different plan, to play and to win ... and to have fun.
“Let’s not worry about the pressure,” he told Grady, “Let’s not worry about the expectations. Let’s just worry about each other. We have each other for quite a long time and lets make these seasons fun. Let’s enjoy playing basketball, let’s enjoy coming to work every day coming to work with the people that you’re playing with.”
As for Durant’s plan while rehabbing, Irving said he wants to be a good teammate while rehabbing “a good portion of the season(!!)”
“I’m just one of the guys who’s rehabbing from an injury. I don’t want to approach this as something different. A lot of players go through this. when you’re missing a good portion of the season rehabbing.
“So I just want to attack this the best that I can. So whenever one of my teammates need advice or want to talk to me about something involving the game, I’ll give them as much as I can.”
None of his teammates seem to want to foreclose on Durant returning.
“Man, I’m staying patient. I’m staying patient, but naturally, it gets me excited,” said Irving, a big smile crossing his face.
“Obviously, when he does return, try to win,” added Dinwiddie, talking about team goals whenever Durant is back. “It’s just that simple. You don’t get all this talent here to lose.”
Sean Marks also had something to say about KD’s role while rehabbing, speaking with Grady and Sarah Kustok on SiriusXM NBA Radio ... among them “taking the whole team out of dinner on several occasions.”