Kevin Durant wants to ‘move past’ offseason drama originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Kevin Durant is ready to move on.
Not from the Brooklyn Nets, but from talking about the dramatic offseason that saw him try to force a move out of town.
“Can we move on past that at some point?” Durant told reporters after Friday’s practice, via ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “I know it’s an interesting story. I know that it took up most of the offseason and drama sells, I get that. But I didn’t miss any games, I didn’t miss any practices, I’m still here. So hopefully we can move past that.”
Durant, who is entering the first season of a four-year extension, requested a trade from the Nets in late June, just days after Kyrie Irving picked up his player option for 2022-23. Prior to Irving opting in, the Nets reportedly had allowed the point guard to seek out a sign-and-trade after the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement on a long-term contract.
When a deal for Durant still hadn’t materialized by early August, the 12-time All-Star reportedly delivered an ultimatum to Nets owner Joe Tsai: fire both head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks, or make a trade. Tsai publically voiced his support for Brooklyn’s coaching staff and front office following the reported ultimatum.
“There’s a lot of s*** that was inaccurate,” Durant said of the offseason rumors that surrounded him. “But it’s like, I don’t want to go through it right now. We don’t got that much time right now.”
There was obviously interest in Durant on the trade market, with the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors among those linked to the superstar forward in rumors. But the whole saga ended without a trade, as Marks announced on Aug. 23 that Durant and the Nets “agreed to move forward” with their partnership.
“I was upset. And as a family, they understood that I was upset, some of the stuff they agreed with,” Durant said. “So we talked about it, and it was over a couple of months, a couple of weeks, toward the end of that where we talked about it. We came out and we voiced all our concerns about how we all can be better. And it just worked out from there, and I’m glad I’m here now.”
“I felt like we had a good team,” Durant added on why he decided to remain with Brooklyn. “I felt like this is the place I said I wanted to be. We started to set something up in the future to be a solid team. So to be honest I thought this was still a great option too. I didn’t want it to get in the way of the games being played. I still love my teammates. Still love playing in the Barclays.
“So I feel like regardless it was going to be an easy decision to come back and play because I love to hoop. So this has been a good environment the last two years for me hooping even though I had some doubts. But overall, looking at it I’d still like to come in here and get work in, so I just looked at that.”
Durant and Co. will be hoping for some stability this season following a tumultuous 2021-22 campaign. Last season, Durant missed 27 games due to injury, Irving missed 53 games due to his vaccination status and Joe Harris missed 68 games with a season-ending ankle injury. That wasn’t all either, as a disgruntled James Harden was dealt to the Philadelphia 76ers at the trade deadline and Ben Simmons didn’t appear in a single game after being acquired for Harden.
Since Durant and Irving signed with the Nets in the summer of 2019, they have appeared in just 57 games together.
“When you look at the grand scheme of things, we haven’t been healthy at all for two years,” Durant said. “Each playoffs we didn’t have major guys, [they] miss minutes, not just role players, but guys that make a lot of money. So when you got $50 million dollars on your bench this last playoffs with Joe and Ben and then the playoffs before that, I want to see what our team looks like in full, with guys being healthy. With us having a little bit of continuity. So we’ll see what happens.”