Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving haven't been teammates all that long, but the two-time NBA champion has his fellow Brooklyn Net's back. Durant recently came to Irving's aid after one of his former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates, Kendrick Perkins, criticized the Brooklyn point guard for his reservations about resuming the 2019-2020 NBA season.
KD ultimately called Perkins a "sell out" following the big man's appearance on ESPN's Get Up, where he accused Irving of lacking leadership and being a distraction while attempting to get players on board with canceling the NBA season.
Perkins didn't stop with his initial comments, however. On The DA Show, he continued to talk about Kyrie, suggesting he has been causing division between players.
"No one is listening to Kyrie. The NBA is going to continue," Perkins said. "All he's doing is causing unnecessary drama between the NBA brothers that we don’t need right now. Him lashing out is just making news and making a whole bunch of noise for nothing because the NBA season is going to happen."
Last week, Irving led a conference call with over 80 fellow NBA and WNBA players where he voiced his opposition to restarting the 2019-20 season in Orlando, The Athletic reports.
The NBA previously approved a 22-team return, in an aim to conclude the season that was halted in March due to Covid-19. However, Irving is leading a group of players that are looking to take a stand by not partaking in the NBA's resumption, as it would detract from the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.
"I don't support going into Orlando," Irving said. "I'm not with the systematic racism and the bullshit. … Something smells a little fishy. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are targeted as black men every day we wake up." The Athletic reports that Irving also said he's "willing to give up everything" for social reform.
Other players that reportedly spoke up about potentially sitting out at Orlando were Donovan Mitchell, Carmelo Anthony, Avery Bradley, and Dwight Howard. Bradley argued that they should "play chess, not checkers," and they could use this moment to enact real change. Anthony echoed that sentiment and urged players on the call to make a $25,000 donation to a cause they believe in.
Although multiple Lakers players are also prepared to sit out the season, LeBron James reportedly isn't one of them. While the league doesn't require players to participate in the season if they feel uncomfortable, if they sit out they would lose a portion of their salaries.
For now, everything is up in the air as the players must decide whether they are comfortable playing basketball in light of everything else that is happening in the world.