Kevin Durant Lashes out at NBA on Twitter Amid COVID-19 Issues

Friday night, Brooklyn Nets player Kevin Durant turned heads with a series of tweets. He was pulled from pregame warmups prior to a game against the Toronto Raptors, but he ultimately returned. However, he was forced from the game in the third quarter due to COVID-19 contact tracing, leading to a tweet that read, "Free me."

According to ESPN, the situation unraveled in a surprising fashion. Durant had come into contact with an associate who tested positive for coronavirus on Friday night, hours after he returned an inconclusive test. The league office instructed the Nets to pull Durant out of warmups, making him unavailable to start. However, the NBA player received clearance to make his way back to the bench area after the start of the first quarter.

"Durant was initially held out of the game while that result was being reviewed," a league statement said, per ESPN. "Under the league's health and safety protocols, we do not require a player to be quarantined until a close contact has a confirmed positive test."

Despite returning to the Nets after the game started, Durant had to leave once again in the third quarter. He was on the bench while the officials reviewed a play in which he had picked up his fifth foul. The foul was overturned, but Durant did not return to the game. A team official told him he would not be able to continue, and the NBA player responded by shaking his head in frustration and throwing his water bottle as he left.

"Yo [NBA], your fans aren't dumb!!!! You can't fool em with your Wack a— PR tactics.. [FREE 7]" Durant tweeted after leaving the game. The comment was in reference to the league's statement on his removal, as well as the contact tracing that took place.

Durant was not the only member of the team that spoke out about the circumstances surrounding his removal from the game. Teammate James Harden, who joined the team via trade, also made several comments after the game. He said that these situations are overwhelming.

"I don't understand the whole thing where he couldn't play, then he came on the court, then they took him back," Harden said. "There's just a lot going on. There's too much going on. It's kind of overwhelming. We're in the midst of a tough game, and these games are going to add up, especially if we're talking about playoff seeding ... to catch a rhythm. It's overwhelming. It's frustrating.

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"[Durant] feels the same way. Especially with him already having it and we get tested every single day. He's been negative," Harden continued. "So I don't understand what the problem is. The game should've been postponed, I feel like. If we're talking about contact tracing. He was around all of us. So I don't understand why he wasn't allowed to play, then allowed to play, then taken back off the court. If that was the case, we should've postponed the game."

Following Friday's removal, Durant is also in danger of missing multiple games due to contact tracing. He will not travel to Philadelphia for Saturday's match against the 76ers and the absence could continue, per sources. The Nets will then play on Tuesday (at Detroit) and Wednesday (home against Indiana).