After a summer that included a trade request that didn’t go through, and reported requests for both a coaching and general manager change, the Brooklyn Nets are entering the upcoming NBA season as one of its most intriguing stories. Much of that mystique surrounds their top star Kevin Durant, and where his mental state is at after it was believed that he would be long gone.
During the Brooklyn Nets’ media day on Monday, Durant took time to set the record straight about his contract extension, why he requested a trade and the uncertain period around the team that caused it:
“I committed to this organization for four years last summer, with the idea that we were going to play with that group that we kinda went on that little round to the second round with [in the 2020-21 postseason]. I felt like another year of that, us being healthy, we were building something toward the future.
Then as the season went on—you saw what happened last season, guys in and out of the lineup, injuries, just a lot of uncertainty which built some doubt in my mind about the next four years of my career. I’m getting older, I want to be in a place that’s stable. Trying to build a championship culture, so I had some doubts about that. And I voiced them to [team governor Joe Tsai]. And we moved forward from there.”
Sadly, we have yet to see the Brooklyn Nets at full strength. When Durant played during the 2020-21 season, he was coming off a torn Achilles injury. Guard Kyrie Irving was also dealing with a nagging shoulder injury that same season. Then there was the Bucks playoff series, where Durant was a toe-on-the-line away from beating the eventual champion, Milwaukee Bucks. Last season, we can’t forget the failed experiment with James Harden and the confusion around Kyrie Irving’s vaccination status, which led to a disappointing exit in the first round of the playoffs to the Boston Celtics last year.
You can see why Durant was frustrated, but if you’re the Nets, you’re not going to trade him just to do it. No teams were willing to meet Brooklyn’s reported high asking price, and Durant gave credit to GM Sean Marks and Nets owner Joe Tsai for noting his value.
“No. I know I’m that good that you’re just not going to give me away. That’s one thing I did appreciate about Sean and Joe, that’s like, ‘You’re too great for us to give you away. Just that easy, that simple.’ So I understand that; I know who I am.”
The Brooklyn Nets are coming into this season healthier and with a couple more pieces added to their repertoire. Ben Simmons is ready to go after a year off. Guard Joe Harris will add more shooting to a backcourt with Seth Curry and Patty Mills. T.J. Warren was a steal in free agency. However, everything banks on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. (Let’s not be foolish, K.D. is still that dude.) If they perform at a peak level, the Nets can be contenders in the East.