Knicks signee says players knew in February that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were headed to Nets

The New York Knicks drew chuckles across the basketball world after Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving signed with the cross-town rivals Brooklyn Nets rather than resurrect James Dolan’s team.

As it turns out, the pair’s move shouldn’t have been a surprise.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving reportedly planned Nets move for months

After insisting they were never actually that interested in Durant, the Knicks picked up a number of lesser-known players headlined by big man Julius Randle’s three-year, $63 million deal.

Among that group was former Washington Wizards power forward Bobby Portis, who told The Athletic that he was quite aware who would not be his teammates on the Knicks as he negotiated with the team:

“I knew what was gonna happen in February,” he said. “We all knew that (Durant and Kyrie Irving would go to Brooklyn). Everybody knew that. I just don’t think the media knew that. Us basketball players, we all knew that.”

(No, he won’t tell you how he knows. Even players don’t reveal their sources. “I’m not going to leak my source,” he said. “But we all know where they were going. I’m protecting mine, but we all knew where they were going.”)

31 PHOTOS
Kyrie Irving through his career
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Kyrie Irving through his career
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 1: Kyrie Irving poses for a portrait after getting introduced as Boston Celtics on September 1, 2017 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Duke Blue Devils guard Kyrie Irving (1) shoots against the Hampton Pirates during their second round NCAA men's basketball game in Charlotte, North Carolina March 18, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Keane (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Kyrie Irving stands with NBA Commissioner David Stern after being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft in Newark, New Jersey, June 23, 2011. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving (2) reacts to making a three point basket in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge game during the NBA All-Star weekend in Orlando, Florida, February 24, 2012. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Cleveland Cavaliers' rookie Kyrie Irving (R) dribbles around Boston Celtics' defender Avery Bradley during the second quarter of their NBA basketball game in Cleveland January 31, 2012. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Kyrie Irving (C) smiles during the U.S. Olympic basketball team practice at UNLV's Mendenhall Center in Las Vegas, Nevada July 6, 2012. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Sam Morris (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL OLYMPICS)
Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving brings the ball up court against the New York Knicks in the second quarter of their NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York December 15, 2012. REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
East All-Star Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers competes in the three-point contest during the NBA basketball All-Star weekend in Houston, Texas, February 16, 2013. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
NBA All-Star LeBron James of the Miami Heat (6) and teammates Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks (7,) Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat and Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers look up at the clock in the fourth quarter of the NBA All-Star basketball game in Houston, Texas, February 17, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dec 10, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) drives against New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton (2) in the first quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
January 16, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) moves the ball up court against the Los Angeles Clippers during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Kyrie Irving of the U.S. (L) goes up for a basket past Slovenia's Edo Muric during their Basketball World Cup quarter-final game in Barcelona September 9, 2014. REUTERS/Albert Gea (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dec 2, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (right) and guard Kyrie Irving (2) react in the fourth quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 30, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) shoots as Sacramento Kings guard Darren Collison (7) defends during the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 24, 2015; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) attempts a shot against Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) during the second quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
May 12, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) celebrates with guard Kyrie Irving (2) after a 106-101 win over the Chicago Bulls in game five of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Team USA guard Kyrie Irving takes a shot during the USA men's basketball national team minicamp at Mendenhall Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 7, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen (9) and guard Mario Chalmers (6) celebrate after Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) missed a game-tying basket as time expired at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
June 1, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) addresses the media in a press conference during NBA Finals media day at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
June 2, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) shoots against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first half in game two of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 10, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) and guard Kyrie Irving (2) look during a press conference after game four of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena. The Warriors won 108-97. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Cavaliers Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Kevin Love, JR Smith and Tristan Thompson arrive home to a welcome party in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk
2016 Rio Olympics - Basketball - Main Press Centre - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 04/08/2016. Kyrie Irving (USA) of the U.S. attends a news conference. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
2016 Rio Olympics - Basketball - Quarterfinal - Men's Quarterfinal USA v Argentina - Carioca Arena 1 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/8/2016. Kyrie Irving (USA) of the USA and Facundo Campazzo (ARG) of Argentina compete. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Feb 19, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Western Conference forward Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors (35), Eastern Conference forward Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers (2) and Western Conference guard Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors (30) talk in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) drives against Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) in the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 25, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) reacts after a play during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Quicken Loans Arena. The Wizards won 127-115. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 1: Kyrie Irving talks to the media as he gets introduced as Boston Celtics on September 1, 2017 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 28: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the game against the Houston Rockets on December 28, 2017 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MARCH 20: Kyrie Irving #11 and Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics talk during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 20, 2018 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 15: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics looks on in the second half of Game Two of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden on May 15, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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When Durant and Irving decided to team up remains a little unclear, but it now seems obvious that this has been in the works for months.

Kevin Durant, right, watches Kyrie Irving during a training camp for USA Basketball, Thursday, July 26, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

There were rumblings that Durant and Irving had some kind of pact last season, especially after a video of the pair strongly discussing something leaked last February following a the Kristaps Porzingis trade that left the Knicks with enough cap space for two max contracts.

32 PHOTOS
Kevin Durant through the years
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Kevin Durant through the years
University of Texas' Kevin Durant watches as a Texas A&M University player takes a free throw during the first half of their NCAA basketball game in Austin, Texas, February 28, 2007. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES)
Kevin Durant of the University of Texas kisses his mother after being selected as the second overall pick by the Seattle Supersonics at the 2007 NBA Draft at Madison Square Garden in New York June 28, 2007. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES)
Seattle Supersonics Kevin Durant reacts during their NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles November 27, 2007. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES)
Seattle Supersonics Kevin Durant (R) fights for a rebound with Los Angeles Lakers Ronny Turiaf during their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles March 21, 2008. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES)
NBA Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant of the Seattle SuperSonics attends a news conference in Taipei July 26, 2008. Durant will visit Taiwan's Asian Youth Basketball national team training camp during his tour of Taiwan. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang (TAIWAN)
Sophomore's Kevin Durant from the Oklahoma City Thunder holds up his MVP trophy after the Rookie Challenge at the NBA All-Star basketball weekend in Phoenix, Arizona, February 13, 2009. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES)
Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant reacts during the second half of Game 2 of their NBA Western Conference playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles, April 20, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, (R) hugs teammate Russell Westbrook (0) in celebration late in the fourth quarter against the Lost Angeles Lakers during Game 3 of their NBA Western Conference playoff series in Oklahoma City, April 22, 2010. REUTERS/Bill Waugh (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Kevin Durant of the U.S. looks at Hamed Ehadadi (L) from Iran during their FIBA Basketball World Championship game in Istanbul, September 1, 2010. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (TURKEY - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant sits on the bench in the first half against the Dallas Mavericks during Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Final basketball playoff in Dallas, Texas May 17, 2011. REUTERS/Tim Sharp (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant dunks the ball against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Dallas, Texas January 2, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant celebrates in the second half against the San Antonio Spurs during Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference basketball finals in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, May 31, 2012 REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant attends a news conference held for the NBA Finals in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma June 13, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (R) shoots over Miami Heat forward Shane Battier in the second quarter during Game 4 of the NBA basketball finals in Miami, Florida, June 19, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
LeBron James (R) of the Miami Heat speaks as Kevin Durant (L) and Kobe Bryant listen during a news conference for the twelve players selected for the 2012 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada July 7, 2012. REUTERS/Steve Marcus (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL OLYMPICS)
Lebron James (L) and Kevin Durant of the U.S. pose with their gold medals during victory ceremony at the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 12, 2012. REUTERS/Sergio Perez (BRITAIN - Tags: OLYMPICS SPORT BASKETBALL)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (C) shoots against Portland Trail Blazers Nicolas Batum (L) of France, and LaMarcus Aldridge (R) in the first half of their NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma March 24, 2013. REUTERS/Bill Waugh (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
May 7, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) is awarded the NBA Most Valuable Player award prior to action against the Los Angeles Clippers in game two of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 25, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates scoring during the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
May 6, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks speaks about how deserving Kevin Durant is of the 2013-2014 MVP award at Thunder Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
NBA basketball player Kevin Durant accepts the Best Male Athlete Award during the inaugural 2014 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports awards at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, California July 17, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SPORT BASKETBALL PROFILE)
Dec 23, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) moves to the basket against Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) during the 2nd quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters Picture Supplied by Action Images (TAGS: Sport Basketball NBA) *** Local Caption *** 2015-12-24T044552Z_1591095791_NOCID_RTRMADP_3_NBA-OKLAHOMA-CITY-THUNDER-AT-LOS-ANGELES-LAKERS.JPG
Professional basketball player Kevin Durant speaks to the media during a Nike unveiling event in New York, March 17, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
May 30, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30, right) is congratulated by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) after game seven of the Western conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Thunder 96-88. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Jul 7, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Kevin Durant poses for a photo with his jersey during a press conference after signing with the Golden State Warriors at the Warriors Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
2016 Rio Olympics - Basketball - Preliminary - Men's Preliminary Round Group A USA v Venezuela - Carioca Arena 1 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 08/08/2016. Deandre Jordan (USA) of the USA and Kevin Durant (USA) of the USA. REUTERS/Jim Young FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Basketball - Final - Men's Gold Medal Game Serbia v USA - Carioca Arena 1 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 21/8/2016. Kevin Durant (USA) of the USA celebrates during the game. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Basketball - Final - Men's Gold Medal Game Serbia v USA - Carioca Arena 1 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 21/8/2016. Jimmy Butler (USA) of the USA (L), Kevin Durant (USA) of the USA and Deandre Jordan (USA) of the USA (R) stand with their gold medals for the playing of the U.S. National Anthem during the presentation ceremony for men's basketball. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Apr 22, 2017; Portland, OR, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) smiles while sitting on the bench during warm-ups before game three of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 7, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) shoots as Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) guards during the first quarter in game three of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 12, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates with the Larry O'Brien Trophy after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in game five of the 2017 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Nov 18, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts in the direction of fans after being fouled during the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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The speculation grew quite loud while the Warriors fought for a third straight title, to the point that Durant castigated the media for chatter that he was heading to the Knicks:

I have nothing to do with the Knicks, I don’t know who traded [Kristaps] Porzingis. They’ve got nothing to do with me. I’m trying to play basketball. Y’all come in here every day, ask me about free agency, ask my teammates, my coaches, rile up the fans about it. Let us play basketball, that’s all I’m saying.

The who and what turned out to be true. The where, not so much

In retrospect, the Nets’ stronger roster and less turbulent brain trust made a lot more sense for a pair of stars looking for their next destination.

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