BROOKLYN — Everyone around the Nets may be worried about how Kevin Durant is viewing the trade of Kyrie Irving, but one person is not.
Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn said he wasn’t concerned about Durant’s commitment to the organization after the latest drama that had engulfed Brooklyn. When the head coach spoke before Monday’s game he was tightlipped about what was going on at that point with the trade because it wasn’t official at that point.
However, when asked about the chaotic nature that has surrounded the Nets for the last couple of years, Vaughn didn’t appear too concerned that Durant’s patience was wearing thin.
“At the end of the day, Kevin wants to win and that’s always been our goal,” Vaughn said. “He wants to win at shootaround. He wants to win any game of the week. That’s why he loves to play. That’s why he wants to play 82 games. That will be our holy grail. We’ll continue to try to put a group out that wins and until there’s something for me to be concerned about, then I’ll carry on business as usual.”
Durant was in the building on Monday for the Nets’ game against the Los Angeles Clippers. He was spotted on the bench during the second quarter and was seen actively engaged with what was happening on the court.
KD back on the Nets bench 🙌 pic.twitter.com/kBb8LESPW1
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) February 7, 2023
The Nets superstar has been sidelined since Jan 8. with an MCL sprain, which has limited who knows how he views the events of 72 hours. When Vaughn was asked how his conversations with Durant had been surrounding the events, the Nets coach said that their discussions revolved around the team.
“My conversation with Kev basically was based around the game and how our group pulled together to get a win,” Vaughn said. “He was enthusiastic by that. How our guys played, how Cam (Thomas) played. So our conversations really kind of geared towards that direction and that was really about it.”
After the game, Vaughn said that he saw Durant briefly and discussed the game, but any conversations about Durant still wanting to remain in Brooklyn “wouldn’t even come up in our conversation.”
Irving and Durant’s time with the Nets has come with plenty of drama surrounding it, particularly with Irving, but Vaughn did say he enjoyed his time coaching Irving.
“My interactions with Ky have always been positive,” Vaughn said after the game. “I enjoyed coaching him. I want him to succeed. I’ll keep it that simple. We’ve had some ups and downs I guess along the way. I’ve also seen the young man score 60 points. … So for me, I’m going to always look at the good in people and want the good in people, and I want him to succeed. He’s no longer with us, but I appreciate his time.”
The end of the 7-11 era in Brooklyn has once again raised concerns that Durant could himself ask to be traded away from the organization he signed on with back in 2019. The franchise cornerstone had requested a trade over the summer that sent shockwaves across the NBA, but he rescinded the request in August after a meeting with team ownership, general manager Sean Marks and then-head coach Steve Nash.
Irving and Durant have been attached at the hip since coming to the Nets and it was Irving that helped convince Durant to sign in Brooklyn.
If Durant does decide he wants out of Brooklyn, the Nets will not have to try hard to find a trade partner. Teams have already let it be known they would be in the mix for Durant, with the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat among the list of possible suitors, though it seems the Nets do not have plans to trade Durant before Thursday’s trade deadline.
Durant and the organization have been holding ongoing conversations about the direction of the franchise but they have told teams they’re not planning to deal him, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.