Kevin Durant said certain things were "swept under the rug" as he discussed his reasoning for requesting a trade from the Nets this summer; the 33-year-old rescinded his request in August and says he is committed to playing for Brooklyn this season
Tuesday 27 September 2022 13:00, UK
Kevin Durant says concerns over stability and team culture formed the basis of his decision to request a trade from the Brooklyn Nets earlier this offseason.
Durant signed a four-year, $198m extension with the Nets in August 2021 before seeing Kyrie Irving miss a significant chunk of games due to his Covid vaccination status and James Harden traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for the injury-stricken Ben Simmons. Brooklyn's campaign was then brought to a disappointing end in defeat to the Boston Celtics in their first-round playoff series.
The 33-year-old officially requested a trade on June 30 but later rescinded it on August 24 having agreed to stay put.
"My whole thing was, I want everybody to be held accountable for their habits as a player every day, and a lot of stuff was getting swept under the rug because we're injured or guys aren't around," Durant said.
"We could've fought through that more and focused on the guys that were here. When I went out with the injury, we lost 10 in a row. We shouldn't be losing some of these games.
"I was more so worried about how we're approaching every day as a team. I felt like we could've fought through a lot of stuff that held us back.
"You see what happened with our season, guys in and out the line-up, injuries, just a lot of uncertainty that built 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's stable and trying to build a Championship culture.
"I had some doubts about that and I voiced them to Joe and we move forward from there."
Durant's request came just days after Irving had activated his player option to return with the Nets for the upcoming season, the Nets point guard admitting this week the news of his team-mate's trade wishes had been "awkward".
The pair had been united in Brooklyn, and later with Harden, amid something of a super-team trend across the league in view of a return to the NBA Finals for the first time since losing appearances in 2001-2002 and 2002-2003.
Upon talks with management, Durant was reassured his hopes of competing for a title into his late 30s would still be alive.
"We've got guys in this locker room that care, we've got people in this organisation that want to see this organisation be as one of the prominent ones in sports so I'm banking on that, we've got competitive people in this building," he said.
"I've got faith that moving forward we all want the same things, especially after a summer of us having a stand-off. That's only going to make us better and make us more competitive and go out there to show what we can do."
Nets general manager Sean Marks admitted he was "relatively close" to agreeing a trade for Durant on a couple of occasions, but that it naturally proved difficult to secure anything close to a fair return given the calibre of player he would be losing.
"I know I'm that good that you're not going to just give me away. That's one thing I did appreciate about Sean and Joe. 'You're too great for us to give you away'," Durant added. "I get that. I know who I am."
Durant reiterated he was committed to the Nets heading into the new season as he continues his search for a third Championship ring.
"Families go through things like this, go through adversity, go through disagreements," said head coach Steve Nash. "It's a part of working in this business. It's super competitive. We're all prideful. We all have expectations. And when we get dinged up, like we did last year, everyone's disappointed. So we cleared the air, and we spoke, and we got on the same page."