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‘Uncertainty’ around Nets led to Kevin Durant’s trade request, but expresses commitment to Brooklyn

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Kevin Durant Nets
Kevin Durant addresses reporters during Nets Media Day on Sept. 26, 2022.
Photo Credit: Christian Arnold

After a summer filled with drama that would have rivaled midday soap opera, the Nets reconvened in Brooklyn for the first time as a team with training camp opening on Tuesday. The biggest question on the minds of everyone assembled at HSS Training Center was what had led to Kevin Durant’s desire to be traded and how committed he would be going forward. 

The Nets superstar described a future that left him with uncertainty about the organization when the season came to an end last spring that played into his request that shocked the NBA world. 

“There was a lot of uncertainty around our team last year,” Durant said during Nets media day on Monday. “I committed to this organization for four years last summer with the idea that we were going to play with that group. … We were building something towards the future, but as the season went on you seen what happened with our season. Guys in out of the lineup, injuries. Just a lot of uncertainty that put some doubt in my mind about the next four years of my career. 

“I’m getting older and I want to be in a place that stable and trying to build a championship culture. I had some doubts about that and I voiced them to (team owner Joe Tsai) and we moved forward from there.” 

The Nets superstar also expressed his concern about the culture within the organization and how much guys were or weren’t being held to a standard over what had been going on with the team. Brooklyn had dealt with plenty of issues during the course of the season from Irving’s absence due to being unvaccinated to injuries to a COVID outbreak that occurred in December. 

But Durant felt some of that was being used as an excuse for what was transpiring. 

“I wanted everybody to be held accountable for their habits as a basketball player,” Durant said. “I think a lot of stuff was getting swept under the rug because we’re injured or this guy’s not around or just the circumstances. I thought we could have fought through that a little bit more and focused on the guys that were here a little bit more.” 

The NBA superstar mentioned specifically the point of the year while he was injured and the Nets had lost 10 games in a row. He told reporters that he felt that the team should not have lost regardless of who had been out there.

Durant ultimately rescinded the request in late August and the Nets will return both him and Kyrie Irving, who opted into the final year of his contract earlier this year. Ben Simmons is expected to be healthy and a big part of the Nets roster going forward, and general manager Sean Marks added several pieces in the offseason. 

After conversations with a lot of different people within the organization including ownership, general manager Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash, and a look at what the team had done during the offseason he agreed to move forward with the team. 

“We had plenty of conversations so they know me,” Durant said. “They know how much I care about the game of basketball and my teammates and wanting to win. We all jumped on the same page. It was pretty simple, we’re professionals, we know how to adapt and move forward so I think that’s really what it was.”

Durant’s trade request created a frenzy unseen before in the NBA with a player of his caliber on the market. The Nets had reportedly asked for a king’s ransom in exchange for the superstar, which ultimately prevented any deal to get done.

Durant joked that he understood when you’re as good as he is a team won’t give you away for free. 

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He got a bit more serious when he was asked to provide assurance that he won’t want out again at some point this season or next season. Durant responded that the fans should know him after being with the organization for three years.

“I don’t feel like I gotta prove anything to Nets fans after three years,” he said. “I’m committed to moving forward with this team, so if they got doubts I can’t control that, but that’s on you. And if you seen me you know what I do, how much I care about playing and how much I care about my teammates and this organization with what I’ve shown the last three years.”

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