The last push of the network into the world of super teams may be over.
12-time All-Star Kevin Durant asked the Nets to trade but did not have the authority to discuss it publicly. Durant’s business manager Rich Kleiman told ESPN that the Nets had given him permission to find business partners. Durant’s request came three days after Kyrie Irving was chosen as the final year of a four-year deal with the Nets.
Durant and Irving signed a four-year deal with the Nets in 2019, but last year Durant signed a deal that will run throughout the 2025-26 season. Irving could be traded in the last year of the contract.
The 33-year-old is widely regarded as one of the top scorers in NBA history. He was named the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2014, one of four seasons in which he led the NBA in scoring.
Last season, Durant averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists in 55 games.
He and Irving came to Brooklyn to win the championship together.
“We want to finish our career together. We want to do it as a team, and what could be better than Brooklyn? ” Irving told reporters at the inaugural 2019 press conference.
Durant was selected by the Seattle Supersonics with second overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft and later became the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant spent nine seasons with the franchise before signing with Golden State in 2016. There, he helped Golden State win consecutive championships in 2017 and 2018 and was named MVP by both finalists. Durant tore his Achilles tendon in the 2019 Finals and Golden State lost to the Toronto Raptors.
Irving, a seven-time All-Star, won the championship before joining the Nets with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.
The 2019-20 season (Nets first for Durant and Irving) was suspended due to the coronavirus, but the Nets still managed to scrape it. Durant ‘s recovery from an Achilles tendon injury continued throughout the year and the Nets were not at the top of the table. For the 2020-21 season, he requested a replacement with the Houston Rockets to add James Harden mid-season, but lost in the second round of the playoffs.
Then the Nets kicked off last season with all three stars ready to play. But the New York City coronavirus vaccination mandate means that Irving, who refused to be vaccinated, will not be able to play in Brooklyn. The Nets decided not to allow Irving to become a part-time player and would stay out until he could play every game. However, he recovered again in December and started playing away in qualifiers in January.
Durant and Harden helped to score at the top of the Eastern Conference, but the team was shaken after Durant injured his shoulder in January.
Enraged by Irving’s absence, Harden asked for a business deal and was sent to Philadelphia by Ben Simmons in February. Simmons suffered from mental and physical illnesses and had not yet played for the net. In March, the vaccination rules were changed in New York City and Irving was allowed to play for Brooklyn.
The Nets took seventh-seeded in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but the Boston Celtics wiped them out in the first round despite being as perfect as they were all year.
“We had high expectations ” said Durant after Game 4 of the series. “Everyone had high expectations for us, but a lot of things happened during the season that derailed us “.
“I don’t regret it,” he added.
Even when Irving was criticized by the press and fans, Durant publicly supported him. After rumors recently circulated that Irving wanted to leave Brooklyn, Durant said on his podcast that he had nothing to do with Irving’s potential free agency.
“Basketball is definitely the most important thing, but I try not to interfere with the personal decisions of others “, said Durant. “As I said, friendship will continue whatever happens “.
Durant’s request came at a time when league offices were trying to determine what their roster would look like next season, whether under contract or with a free agent. Teams and players were able to start discussing a free agent contract on Thursday at 6pm and could make it official on July 6.
Durant’s flagship talent is likely to attract more teams despite the $ 193 million remaining on his contract with the Nets. A deal for a player at his level typically includes multiple choices in the first round.
Article Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/30/sports/basketball/kevin-durant-trade-demand-nets.html