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Kevin Durant Says Trade Request Came from 'Some Doubt' About Nets' Culture, Stability

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 26, 2022

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: Kevin Durant of Brooklyn Nets warms up before NBA playoffs between Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn of New York City, United States on April 25, 2022. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Kevin Durant spoke with reporters at the Brooklyn Nets' media day on Monday, offering insight into his trade request and his lack of surprise that he wasn't dealt.

NBA TV @NBATV

“There was a lot of uncertainty around our team last year… We came to a mutual agreement that we should keep moving forward.”<br><br>-Kevin Durant on his offseason with the Nets. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAMediaDay?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAMediaDay</a> <a href="https://t.co/dlYEGmeoPP">pic.twitter.com/dlYEGmeoPP</a>

Tania Ganguli @taniaganguli

KD said he wasn't surprised he didn't get traded: "I know I’m that good that you’re just not going to give me away." Said he appreciated that message from Marks and Tsai: "You’re too great for us to give you away. Just that easy that simple. I get that. I know who I am."

"I committed to this organization for four years last summer, with the idea that we were going to play with that group that we kinda went on that little round to the second round with [in the 2020-21 postseason]. I felt like another year of that, us being healthy, we were building something toward the future. Then as the season went on—you saw what happened last season, guys in and out of the lineup, injuries, just a lot of uncertainty which built some doubt in my mind about the next four years of my career. I'm getting older, I want to be in a place that's stable. Trying to build a championship culture, so I had some doubts about that. And I voiced them to [team governor Joe Tsai]. And we moved forward from there."

Durant added that he liked the offseason moves the Nets and general manager Sean Marks made over the summer, and he feels as though the difficulties of last season may serve as motivation for this year's group.

"A year of us looking in the mirror, like, 'We f--ked up as a team,' and that only makes you better," he told reporters.

Matt Brooks @MattBrooksNBA

Kevin Durant on whether he'll put in another trade request if the Nets struggle...<br><br>"I don't feel like I've gotta prove anything to Net fans after 3 years. I'm committed to moving forward with this team. If you've got doubts, that's on you."

The Nets faced what felt like a decade's worth of adversity and controversy in the 2021-22 season.

Durant's running mate, Kyrie Irving, wasn't able to play in the large majority of the team's home games in Brooklyn due to New York City's vaccination rules for city employees, and he started the year away from the team altogether. James Harden grew unhappy and forced a trade, eventually moving to the Philadelphia 76ers. The centerpiece of Brooklyn's return for Harden, Ben Simmons, never played for the team because of a back injury. Durant's injury issues limited him to just 55 games.

Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis

Kevin Durant says he wanted everybody on the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Nets?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Nets</a> to hold themselves accountable and be held accountable for their play. Cites losing streak when he got hurt and says "We shouldn't have been losing all those games." <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBA?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBA</a>

The result was a berth in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament, where the Nets advanced and faced the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. They were immediately swept—an embarrassing outcome for a team with Brooklyn's collection of talent.

That led to a summer of uncertainty. Irving was on the trade block before opting in to his player option. Durant made his own trade request. Just three summers after joining forces, it appeared as though the duo may be breaking apart.

Tania Ganguli @taniaganguli

Irving acknowledged that it was awkward when KD made his trade request just after he opted into the rest of his contract, but he accepted it. "There was a level of uncertainty in this building."

Kristian Winfield @Krisplashed

Ben Simmons on playing with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving: "We've been playing all week."<br><br>How's it look?<br><br>"Incredible."

Instead, they'll give it at least one more go, with Irving's looming free agency next summer still hanging over the season. There is little doubt that the Nets are loaded with talent.

The question is whether they can avoid the level of drama that engulfed the 2021-22 season.

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