Kevin Durant Says His Nets Trade Request 'Didn't Get in the Way of the Hoops'

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 6, 2023

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JANUARY 04: Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles against the Chicago Bulls during the first half at United Center on January 04, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. 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 Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant doesn't believe his offseason trade request was an issue once he decided to return, as he explained to ESPN's Nick Friedell:

"This was a summertime thing. We wasn't playing no games. I didn't interfere with what we were doing on the court every day. It wasn't a question of what you were asking my teammates every day after a game or a practice. What I did didn't get in the way of the games that was being played, so I felt like that's the difference in everything. So we hashed that all up right before camp, and it was cool, it didn't get in the way of the hoops."

The situation was compared to that of James Harden, Jimmy Butler and Anthony Davis, who were all traded in-season after making trade requests. Durant argued his scenario was different because he asked out in June and decided to return in August.

Once training camp began, there were no questions about his future.

"I'm committed to moving forward with this team," Durant said at media day.

Durant has proved himself on the court by playing at an extremely high level since the start of the season. The forward is averaging 29.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game, while his 56.8 field-goal percentage would be a career high.

His 6.3 win shares currently ranks third in the NBA behind only Nikola Jokić and Luka Dončić.

The Nets have also thrived as a team, entering Friday at 25-13 to tie for the second-best record in the NBA behind only the Boston Celtics. The squad had won 12 straight games before Wednesday's loss to the Chicago Bulls.

This has been a major difference from past examples of star players requesting trades.

When Harden left the Houston Rockets in 2020-21, he was clearly unhappy with head coach Stephen Silas calling it an "all-around messed up situation." The team was forced to rebuild and finished with the worst record in the NBA. Butler missed the preseason and practices with the Minnesota Timberwolves before his trade in 2018-19.

Durant was able to end his drama in the offseason, allowing the team to move past trade issues and focus on basketball.