Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant explained how his trade request this past offseason differed from those of other NBA stars.
Durant explained that Anthony Davis, Jimmy Butler and James Harden all had trade requests happen during the season, which got in the way of basketball for their teams.
He made a point that he didn’t want things to interfere with the team’s on-court performance and have his teammates have to answer questions about the request after games.
“[He got traded] during the middle of the season, when he was in Minnesota,” Durant said of Butler in an interview with ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “Remember, he was playing games when he wasn’t — he was sitting out some games, he got traded in the middle of the season from Minnesota, right? James, the same way. A.D., the same way. 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. So that’s the difference between what happened with those guys and [me].”
Ultimately, the Nets and Durant came to an agreement that kept him in Brooklyn, and it’s looked like the right choice so far in the 2022-23 campaign.
The Nets have the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference at the moment and are just 1.5 games behind the Boston Celtics for the top spot in the East.
Durant, who is still under contract for several more seasons in Brooklyn, has seemingly tabled any thoughts of a potential trade and is playing some of the best basketball of his career.
The two-time NBA Finals MVP is averaging 29.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game while shooting 56.8 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from beyond the arc. He’s been extremely efficient scoring for the Nets, which has helped the team win nine of its last 10 games.
Brooklyn made some adjustments to its roster in the offseason after a disappointing playoff run last season. The Nets were swept by Boston in the first round of the playoffs in the 2021-22 campaign.
The Nets needed more defenders and size on the wing, so they added T.J. Warren and Royce O’Neale in the offseason. Both of those players, as well as a healthy Ben Simmons, have helped the Nets improve on the defensive end this season.
The return of sharpshooter Joe Harris has also been important, as it’s allowed Durant and Kyrie Irving to really space the floor on offense.
Durant’s trade request certainly made for a rocky offseason for the Nets, but the team has not let that change how it has played in the 2022-23 season.
The team did agree to part ways with former head coach Steve Nash this season, but Brooklyn has been on a tear since then, going 23-8 under Jacque Vaughn’s guidance.
Durant and the Nets will look to keep this hot stretch going, and if the team makes a deep playoff run, it seems likely that Brooklyn will be the 34-year-old’s home for the foreseeable future.