After being swept out of the playoffs by the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics in last year’s playoffs, many Brooklyn Nets fans began to wonder what the future held for the franchise.
Nets general manager Sean Marks traded James Harden to the Sixers for Ben Simmons at the deadline, but Simmons did not play last season due to a herniated disc in his back that required offseason surgery. In addition, heading into the offseason, Nets starting point guard Kyrie Irving had a player option on the final year of his deal where he could have elected to test the free agent market last summer.
But nothing could prepare the Nets for what happened on June 30. After inking a 4-year, $198 million extension to remain with the franchise last summer, Nets superstar Kevin Durant requested a trade.
When Durant made his trade request, Marks and Nets owner Joe Tsai agreed to honor his request but said firmly, they wouldn’t trade him unless they got a substantial return. After weeks of trade negotiations that fell flat, Durant rescinded his trade request and agreed to return to the Nets. During Brooklyn Nets Media Day on September 26, Durant addressed his trade demand for the first time to reporters.
“It was a lot of uncertainty around our team last year,” Durant told reporters on September 26, via Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News.
“I committed to this organization for four years last summer with the idea that we were gonna be playing with that group (KD Kyrie & James Harden).”
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Durant Addresses His Commitment to Nets
Durant’s trade demand this summer was a long and drawn-out process. It took roughly two months for Durant and the Nets to agree. And for as long as trade negotiations took place, things ended rather abruptly between both sides, which has made some speculate about just how final Durant’s decision to stay with the Nets is. But the All-Star forward affirms that he is fully committed to the franchise.
“I don’t feel like I have to prove anything to Nets fans after 3 years,” Durant told reporters during Nets media day via @BallisLife on Twitter.
“I’m committed to moving forward with this team. So, if they got doubts, I can’t control that. That’s on you.”
Steph Curry Sounds off on Durant’s Trade Demand
One team constantly mentioned during Durant’s trade negotiations was the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors. Durant’s former team with whom he won two championships and two NBA Finals MVP awards.
In August, Matt Sullivan of Rolling Stone detailed a conversation Warriors star Stephen Curry had with famed rapper Snoop Dogg about the trade market for Durant. Curry explained that in any trade scenario for the Nets star, the team that traded for him would have to gut its core which would change the entire makeup of the roster.
“In the course of shadowing Curry last month, I observed him discussing the trade market for Durant with Snoop Dogg. Curry suggested that Durant had unrealistic expectations that his preferred destinations would retain superstar rosters, despite Brooklyn’s high asking price,” Sullivan writes.
“Man, he thinks that they’re gonna go to teams — like if he went to Phoenix — that they’re gonna be the same team if he’s there,” Curry told Snoop per Sullivan.
“Of the Boston Celtics, he said, “They have a little bit of everything, but they would have to deal with the organizational transition to get rid of Jaylen [Brown]. He’s such a pivotal piece.… If they would have done that—” Curry broke apart his fingertips in an explosion and agreed with Snoop that Durant was better off staying with the Nets.”
Durant is back and ready to suit up for the Nets in hopes of bringing the franchise their first championship.