HomeSportsKevin Durant requests trade from Brookyn Nets

Kevin Durant requests trade from Brookyn Nets

Kevin Durant requests trade from Brookyn Nets

Durant has been with the Nets since 2019, but his tenure has been rocky between injuries, losses and turmoil among his teammates.

The Nets’ latest foray into the world of superteams might be over.

Kevin Durant, a 12-time All-Star, has asked the Nets to trade him, according to a person familiar with the request who was not authorized to discuss it publicly. Rich Kleiman, Durant’s business manager, told ESPN that the Nets had given him permission to find a trade partner. Durant’s request came three days after Kyrie Irving opted into the final year of his four-year contract with the Nets.

Durant and Irving signed with the Nets in 2019 on four-year deals, but last year Durant signed an extension that goes through the 2025-26 season. Irving can be traded in the final year of his contract.

Durant, 33, is widely thought of as one of the best scoring forwards in N.B.A. history. He won the league’s Most Valuable Player Award in 2014, which was one of the four seasons in which he led the N.B.A. in scoring.

During this past season, Durant played in 55 games and averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game.

He and Irving came to Brooklyn hoping to win a championship together.

“We want to end our careers together,” Irving told reporters at their introductory news conference in 2019. “We want to do this as a team, and what better place to do it than Brooklyn?”

Durant was the second overall pick in the 2007 N.B.A. draft, selected by the Seattle SuperSonics, who then 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 back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018, and was named the M.V.P. of both those finals. Durant tore his Achilles’ tendon during the 2019 finals, which Golden State lost to the Toronto Raptors.

Irving, a seven-time All-Star, had also won a championship before joining the Nets — in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The 2019-20 season — the first with the Nets for Durant and Irving — was interrupted by the coronavirus, but for the Nets it was a wash anyway. Durant’s recovery from his Achilles’ tendon injury lasted all year and the Nets came up short in the playoffs. In the 2020-21 season, the team added James Harden midseason after he asked to be traded from the Houston Rockets, but it lost in the second round of the playoffs.

Then the Nets began last season with all three superstars presumably ready to play. But a New York City coronavirus vaccine mandate meant that Irving, who refused to be vaccinated, would not be allowed to play games in Brooklyn. The Nets decided to sit Irving until he was eligible for all games rather than allow him to be a part-time player. But they relented in December, and he began playing in road games where he was eligible to participate in January.

Durant and Harden helped the Nets to the top of the Eastern Conference, but the team faltered after Durant injured his shoulder in January.

Harden, who had been irritated by Irving’s absences, requested a trade and was sent to Philadelphia for Ben Simmons in February. Simmons was dealing with mental and physical ailments and has yet to play for the Nets. In March, New York City’s vaccine rules changed and Irving became eligible to play in Brooklyn.

The Nets earned the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but even though they were as complete as they had been all year, the Boston Celtics swept them in the first round.

“We had high expectations,” Durant said after Game 4 of that series. “Everybody had high expectations for us, but a lot of stuff happened throughout the season that derailed us.”

He added later: “No regrets.”

Even when Irving had been criticized by the news media and fans, Durant had publicly supported him. As rumors swirled recently that Irving wanted out of Brooklyn, Durant said on his podcast that he wasn’t involved with Irving’s possible free agency.

“Basketball is obviously the most important thing, but I try not to let that get in the way of somebody else’s personal decision,” Durant said. “Like I said, whatever happens, the friendship will still be there.”

Durant’s request comes at a time when league offices are working to determine what their rosters will look like next season either through trades or free-agency signings. Teams and players were able to begin discussing free-agent deals at 6 p.m. on Thursday, and can make them official on July 6.

Durant’s transcendent talent would make him appealing to many teams, despite the $193 million remaining on his contract with the Nets. Trades for players of his caliber typically include several first-round draft picks.

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