Kyrie Irving did not consult Kevin Durant on his decision to request a trade from the Nets, a move that forced Durant to put forth a subsequent trade request and brought an abrupt end to the super team era in Brooklyn.
Durant, now settled into Phoenix after the blockbuster deal that sent him to the Suns at the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline, said in a recent podcast appearance, he has been able to compartmentalize and separate Irving, the basketball player, from Irving, the businessman, but that he is disappointed about the way things played out in Brooklyn.
He also said he hasn’t spoken to Irving since the deal.
”I’m disappointed that we didn’t finish the season, but I also know we’re all our own separate entities. We all move and do the things that we wanna do for our careers, and I can’t fault somebody for doing that, even though it might have been at our expense as a team,” Durant said on the newest episode of his own The ETC’s Podcast. “But that’s who he is and that’s what he wanted to do and I can’t have a problem with that. I wanted to act like I wasn’t upset we didn’t finish the season because I loved playing with Kai. I wanted to continue with it. I wanted to see where we could go with that because we were both playing at a high level. That part of it because I love to play. That’s all I’m focused on in this league is hooping. Not that other s—.
”What Kai doing behind the scenes, what his contract negotiations are, I don’t even wanna think about none of that stuff, so whatever he’s doing, that’s for him, and I trust he’s gonna make the right move for his family moving forward. So we haven’t had a conversation but eventually we will. A lot of stuff is moving fast. He figuring out his situation in Dallas, and I’m figuring out my situation here. At some point, I’m sure we’ll have a conversation and reflect back on all of it, but after the initial (reaction), I was like aight it is what it is and it’s time to move forward.”
Irving requested a trade from Brooklyn while Durant was out nursing am MCL sprain mid season. The request came months after he and the Nets failed to reach an agreement on a contract extension last offseason, and the sides failed to reach an acceptable deal as the months passed into the regular season.
The Nets received Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and two first-round picks from the Dallas Mavericks as part of the Irving trade. They received four first-round picks, Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson in the deal that sent Durant to the Phoenix Suns. Durant said it was not his intention to request a trade mid season, even though the Suns were his preferred destination when he asked out of Brooklyn during the offseason.
”It did come out of nowhere for sure. We were locked into the season,” he said. “I felt like we were building something solid, but that’s the name of the game, the name of the league. That’s what happens. Stuff happens quickly and you’ve gotta figure it out. So yeah it wasn’t something i was planning on doing all star break but it happened that way.”
Durant said it wasn’t exactly Irving’s trade that sent him asking out in Brooklyn, but that with the pieces left in the aftermath of the deal, the Nets were no longer true title contenders.
”Figuring out a plan for the team first, seeing where that was gonna go. I had three more years on my contract, I’m getting older too so I wanted to figure out what it would look like going forward and we all talked about it,” he said. “We looked at both sides and said this is what worked for both sides and made it happen.”
Durant was complimentary of the return the Nets got in his deal.
”You get two starters to come back along with some draft capital. That’s good for your future,” he said. “Especially the picks. It’s a lot of picks you got, and that’s what teams are looking for: first round picks, so I felt like they got players they can build around also some draft capital, so I feel like it worked out.”
Durant said he hopes he built something in Brooklyn that can “still sustain” even though he has moved onto Phoenix.
He said he knows fans will call the Seven-Eleven era a failure, but he doesn’t see it that way.
”I’m disappointed that we didn’t get a chance to really build what we wanted to build because we only played a few games together. That’s the disappointing part of it. We had the talent to go far in the playoffs and I wanted to build on that,” said Durant. “I felt like after that 20-21 season we had an opportunity to build on that, even though guys were injured. So I get that part of the spectators and people saying it was a failure because they wanted to see it work. We wanted to see it work. But on the same side, I felt like I maximized every day as a pro. I got the most out of myself every day. So I wouldn’t say that anything I do is a failure.”
Asked if he thought the Nets had a chance to win it all if they kept the group together this season, Durant said: “The way were playing, yeah I could say that we had a shot, but we’ll never know how it would finish out.
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