The Nets will have to wait until next season to see Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the court together.
Durant appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” on Thursday morning and said he doesn’t plan on playing this season as he continues to rehab from right Achilles tendon surgery.
When asked if he has completely ruled out the possibility that he can return this season, Durant answered, “Yeah.”
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith had follow-up questions.
“You’re done? We won’t see you at all this year in a Brooklyn Nets uniform?” Smith asked.
“No, I don’t plan on it,” Durant answered.
Earlier in the interview, Smith asked Durant when he’s coming back and if it’s possible that he can come back this season.
“Not right now,” Durant said. “I’m not thinking about it. Just rehabbing every day. It’s still a slow process, so I’m grinding.”
Nets general manager Sean Marks said last month that the team doesn’t expect Durant to play this season.
“With Kevin, I think what we’re going to say is the expectations are that he’ll be out for the year,” Marks said before training camp opened. “We’re not going to plan on him playing . . . Ultimately, Kevin will have a large say in when he comes back and how he’s feeling. The expectation is for him to be out.”
Durant joined Irving and DeAndre Jordan in choosing to sign with the Nets in free agency in July. Durant, who ruptured his Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the NBA Finals in June, agreed to a four-year deal with the Nets.
Durant said in the “First Take” appearance that a dispute last season with teammate Draymond Green contributed to his decision to leave the Golden State Warriors for Brooklyn.
“Definitely,” Durant said. “For sure. I’m not going to lie about it.”
Nets fans still will be able to see a second elite scorer (along with Irving) when the Nets (1-3) host Houston (3-1) on Friday night.
James Harden of the Rockets scored 59 points on Wednesday night in a 159-158 victory over the Wizards.
“I thought it was an overtime score,” Nets guard Caris LeVert said.
The Nets are having problems with their defense to start the season, so Harden and the high-flying Rockets either will be a terrible matchup for the Nets or exactly what they need to get moving in the right direction.
Houston is averaging 128 points per game. The Nets are allowing 122, including 118 to the previously winless Pacers in a 10-point loss on Wednesday.
“Beyond [Houston] being just a great offensive team in general, we’ve been really bad on defense,” Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie said. “So it’s not a good combination. We’ve got our work cut out for us just in terms of general improvement. We need to be a much better defensive team, and hopefully playing one of the best offensive teams in the league will be a good test and a good barometer of the hopeful improvement that we’re trying to keep building upon.”