Kevin Durant's decision to rescind his trade request from last summer wasn't based solely on winning an NBA championship.
Durant told ESPN's Nick Friedell the process of team building is what mattered to him and is ultimately what leads to titles:
"I don't even look at s--t that way. My whole thing was like—are we, does the process matter to us? And that's one thing I did know that people here enjoy, grinding. So that was the most important thing for me. Titles and stuff come with the process in which you—how you prepare. It was more so, 'All right, are we going to practice harder? Are we going to pay more attention to detail?' Not just everybody else, all of us, me included. Is that going to be preached to us every day? I had the faith that that would happen because I voiced that throughout the summer as well."
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat were preferred destinations after the 12-time All-Star's trade request.
However, general manager Sean Marks said in a statement Aug. 23 that all parties "agreed to move forward with our partnership" after Durant and his agent, Rich Kleiman, met with Nets leadership.
It looked like this would be another rough season on the court for the Nets. They were 9-11 after a 128-117 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Nov. 25, and they were generating headlines more for what was happening off the court.
The Nets suspended Kyrie Irving on Nov. 3 for promoting an antisemitic film and refusing on multiple occasions to issue an apology or denounce antisemitism. The Nets and head coach Steve Nash parted ways Nov. 1, and Jacque Vaughn stepped in as acting head coach.
The Nets reinstated Irving from the suspended list Nov. 20. He has played in 20 of 22 games since his return.
Since that loss to the Pacers, Brooklyn has turned things around. The team is 16-2 in its last 18 games and has climbed up to the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Durant is having an MVP-caliber season with 29.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game in 37 starts. He is shooting a career-high 56.8 percent and leads the NBA with a 93.3 free-throw percentage.