Less than two months ago, Kevin Durant was having one of the best seasons of his illustrious career for a Brooklyn Nets team one game back of the NBA’s top record. Wednesday he made his debut as a member of the Phoenix Suns. The astounding turn of events underscores the unpredictability of the former MVP’s time in Brooklyn.
Durant’s trade to Phoenix marked the second seismic move made by the Nets in a span of five days leading up to the deadline. Brooklyn dealt Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks after a breakdown in contract negotiations led the guard to request a trade. Irving did not inform Durant of his intention to ask out of Brooklyn, something the latter recently opened up about on his podcast, The ETCs.
Durant offered more details on his final days with the Nets prior to his debut, explaining his reasoning for requesting a trade in a sitdown with Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill.
“I was thinking about who’s in the building, then when s*** started happening. We’re not playing well. Kai requested a trade. It felt like a lot of s*** wasn’t happening for us,” he said. “But I was locked in. I felt like my play showed people that I was really committed to the organization… looked up, like what am I gonna do? I don’t know who’s gonna be my teammates, so I was a little nervous with that happening. And we were able to work something out.”
The deadline marked the second time Durant requested a trade less than one season into a four-year, $194 million contract extension. The first came this summer before his new deal had even started. Despite his expedient decision to force his way out, Durant said he doesn’t regret making the commitment to Brooklyn.
“I don’t regret nothing,” he said. “Nothing I do in my life I regret. I’m [not] signing an extension worth that much money?”
The Nets have posted a 2-7 record since the pair of franchise-altering moves, continuing a freefall in the standings that started with Durant’s MCL sprain on Jan. 8 in Miami. The 13-time All-Star’s return to action marks the beginning of his championship pursuit in Phoenix alongside Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton. The former Net looked every bit of his old self in his first game action since the injury, scoring 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting in a 105-91 Suns win over Charlotte.