The teams that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving left in the summer of 2019 will compete in the NBA Finals in 2022.
After Sunday night, the 2022 NBA Finals are set. The Boston Celtics advanced to the NBA Finals after defeating the Miami Heat 100-96 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Golden State Warriors, who defeated the Dallas Mavericks in five games to reach the Finals for the first time since 2019, will be their opponents.
With the Finals about to begin on Thursday, June 2, it is impossible to overlook the fact that the two teams competing are the same ones that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving left in the summer of 2019.
Kevin Durant’s and Kyrie Irving’s old clubs will meet in the NBA Finals in 2022.
The NBA’s free agency class was stacked in the summer of 2019, making it a major summer for the league. Durant and Irving were the show’s main attractions. Durant won two NBA championships with the Warriors over the previous three years. Irving, on the other hand, had a rocky two-year stint in Boston.
Durant and Irving decided to partner up in order to improve their chances of winning an NBA championship. In terms of their team, they chose to join the Brooklyn Nets.
Due to Durant missing the entire season due to a ruptured Achilles tendon, their first official season as a tandem was not spent together. As soon as Durant returned for the 2020–21 season, they had a legitimate competing window.
The Nets strengthened their bid for the 2021 NBA Finals by acquiring James Harden in a trade to form a super team. They beat the Boston Celtics in five games in the first round, but were ousted in seven games by the eventual NBA champions, the Milwaukee Bucks.
The team’s season was cut short even earlier this year. The team battled with Irving’s absence from home games for the bulk of the season due to New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which he failed to comply with because he was unvaccinated. Not only that, but they also dealt Harden to the 76ers in Philadelphia. The Nets were the first club to be eliminated in the playoffs when they were swept by Boston.
The Celtics are in the NBA Finals after a long wait. The Warriors, on the other hand, missed the playoffs the previous two years due to injuries to their key players. For the sixth time in the past eight seasons, they have reached the Finals in their first year back at full strength.
In hindsight, Durant and Irving’s decisions to leave their respective teams in 2019 did not pay off. But we’ll have to wait and watch what happens with the duo this summer to see whether they get any closer to being a Larry O’Brien Trophy contender.