Kevin Durant most definitely wanted to be traded this past summer.
KD had issues with the direction that the Brooklyn Nets were heading, and was most certainly not satisfied with the coaching. That was the report during the offseason, and he confirmed it to Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes.
In an exclusive interview, Durant talked to Haynes about the turmoil surrounding the Nets and their rough start to the 2021-22 season after getting trounced by the Sacramento Kings, 153-121, on national television.
“It wasn’t difficult at all to request a trade, because it was about ball,” Durant said to Haynes.
In telling his side of the story, Durant’s complaints sound like your average, everyday, upset Jimmy Butler. He was unhappy with the amount of Nets practices, and what they were going over during those sessions. Durant apparently loves closeout drills the way most American workers love a free lunch, because he mentioned twice that the Nets needed more of those in practice.
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It’s almost Thanksgiving. The Nets are even more chaotic than they were last season, and playing worse basketball. Ben Simmons is sometimes on the court, sometimes not. And when he is playing, he has been a worse player than he was during his infamous meltdown in the 2021 playoffs while with the Philadelphia 76ers. Kyrie Irving decided to post a link to an anti-Semetic film just days after Adidas dropped Kanye “Ye” West for continuously making those kinds of statements publicly. Irving is currently suspended indefinitely and the Nets are 6-9.
However, Durant was adamant that he is fine with the current state of the Nets. He spoke positively of new head coach Jacque Vaughn, because I guess they’re both big fans of closeout drills at practice. Durant claimed that he enjoys having to navigate five defenders, because it’s making him a better player. While this season is currently aimed in the opposite direction of the postseason it’s all good, because he gets to impart his wisdom on these inexperienced, and according to him, mediocre NBA players.
“Look at our starting lineup. Edmond Sumner, Royce O’Neale, Joe Harris, [Nic] Claxton and me. It’s not disrespect, but what are you expecting from that group?” Durant said to Haynes. “You expect us to win because I’m out there. So if you’re watching from that lens, you’re expecting us to play well because No. 7 is out there.”
Last season, Durant felt like the team was moving in the wrong direction and was losing respect in the basketball world. With the Nets becoming less and less centered, and playing “like shit,” He assumed that the blame was going to fall on him, and told Haynes that is why he requested the trade.
One thing Durant most certainly clarified, is why Steve Nash got canned as Nets coach 13 days into the regular season. When the news broke that Durant had requested a trade, it was reported that he gave the Nets an ultimatum. Either fire Nash and general manager Sean Marks, or ship him out. Cooler heads prevailed when all sides realized that moving the 34-year-old superstar who had achilles tendon surgery three years ago would be extremely difficult. The Nets braintrust met with Durant at his home in Los Angeles, and worked out a way for him to return.
Still, Durant insisted to the media that he was “shocked” when Nash was let go.
If the Nets had started the season on a five-game winning streak, maybe it could have bought Nash some time. Instead they lost five of their first seven games.
As the holiday season approaches, besides Nash, there isn’t much difference with the Nets from last season. Simmons is on the roster instead of James Harden, O’neal instead of Bruce Brown, Irving isn’t allowed on the floor, and the team is a disappointment.
Let Durant tell it though, it’s all good. The Nets may be a mess, but this is a mess that he can live with.