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Kevin Durant’s agent and pal diss but don’t dismiss a return

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Brooklyn Nets All-Access Practice Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Internet giveth and the Internet taketh away. Or something like that.

After reports that suggested just a bit of softening on prospects for a Kevin Durant return this season, his agent and manager Rich Kleiman and his friend Jay Williams both dissed the idea, calling it unrealistic, but didn’t completely dismiss the possibility.

KD had been playing against a group of younger Nets in 3-on-3 and even 5-on-5 before the shutdown, Chris Chiozza told our Glue Guys podcast last week.

“The first two days we played his handle was a little off because he hadn’t been playing. But after those first two days, if he gets much better than this I don’t know,” said Chiozza. “If he gets better than what he is right now, it is going to be a long season next year for whoever is guarding him.”

Then, Sean Marks who has been highly skeptical of the possibility told a New Zealand sports site a KD return “is the $110 million question,” adding “before the pandemic, he looked like Kevin Durant and that’s a good thing.”

Ian Eagle noted in a conversation with Mike Francesa that if KD doesn’t come back if and when the NBA returns in the summer, he may not play until December. That’s 18 months since his Achilles rupture, a long time for KD’s competitive juices to be stanched. “There’s been a debate as to whether he could play if this NBA season came back,” the YES broadcaster said. “I think he could. I think the team is downplaying it, because that’s what they need to do. They don’t want to set expectations.”

Kleiman and Williams dealt with the issue in more practical terms.

“That still seems like something that is unrealistic,” Kleiman, told Chris Sheridan of Forbes Sports while discussing his latest venture, a sports business newsletter for fans called TheBoardroom.tv.

“I haven’t talked to Kevin in depth about anything like that because there remains so much uncertainty about the season in general,” Kleiman said.

Some in Nets fandom might notice (we did) that in the past, Kleiman has said the two hadn’t spoken about a return this year. Now, he’s saying they haven’t talked “in depth.” But that’s really grasping at straws ... or is it?? (Whatever gets you through the quarantine.)

Williams, who hosts “The Boardroom” with Durant, argued that a compressed playoff schedule under odd circumstances might not be the best scenario for a return. But again, he would not completely rule it out either.

“I think everybody’s antsy,’’ Williams told The Post. “As it relates to Kevin, it depends on the timetable of those games and how condensed it is. It’s one thing to come back and start the beginning of next season where there’s time and space between games and [you can] keep your body ramped up the right way. But someone coming back off an injury and go right into a playoff scenario, I don’t think it’s feasible or fair on Kevin himself.

“But Kevin is his own man. He’ll do what he wants to do.”

Williams also gave a positive appraisal of his friend’s workouts and noted, like Kleiman, the uncertainty across the board.

“He is working out and feels great which is really good to hear,’’ Williams said. “One of the best players in the world to feel he can go is incredible. The question is the [playoff] timetable that nobody knows.

“It’s about how long will they train? How long will he play five-on-five with physical contact?. There’s a lot of questions that need to be answered. Someone can have great individual workouts and pickup games but until you play in full live-game situation with teammates, I don’t know the answer.’’

On Tuesday, both Frank Isola and Stephen A. Smith opined on ESPN. Smith said he thought there was no real chance of KD returning and even suggested Marks was trying to “steal headlines” from the Knicks. (By talking to NewsHub New Zealand?!)

Isola believes it’s possible but said that he can’t see Durant returning without getting a commitment from Irving to do the same.

Perhaps in response, Irving went on Instagram, as Sports Center tweeted...

Even Skip Bayless thinks KD will come back ... if only to assert his claim to being “the best player on the planet.”

Of course, none of this should stop anyone from being optimistic ... or pessimistic. It is what it is and what else we got? In the last year, KD has surprised a lot of people a lot of times. Plus he underwent surgery for an often career-altering injury, survived a coronavirus infection. Ya never know with KD.