The Nets’ latest foray into the world of superteams may be over.
Kevin Durant, a 12-time All-Star, has asked the Nets to trade him, based on an individual acquainted with the request who was not authorized to debate it publicly. Wealthy Kleiman, Durant’s business manager, told ESPN that the Nets had given him permission to search out a trade partner. Durant’s request got here three days after Kyrie Irving opted into the ultimate 12 months of his four-year contract with the Nets.
Durant and Irving signed with the Nets in 2019 on four-year deals, but last 12 months Durant signed an extension that goes through the 2025-26 season. Irving will be traded in the ultimate 12 months of his contract.
Durant, 33, is widely regarded as among the best scoring forwards in N.B.A. history. He won the league’s Most Beneficial Player Award in 2014, which was one in every of the 4 seasons during which he led the N.B.A. in scoring.
During this past season, Durant played in 55 games and averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game.
He and Irving got here to Brooklyn hoping to win a championship together.
“We wish to finish our careers together,” Irving told reporters at their introductory news conference in 2019. “We wish to do that as a team, and what higher place to do it than Brooklyn?”
Durant was the second overall pick within the 2007 N.B.A. draft, chosen by the Seattle SuperSonics, who then became the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant spent nine seasons with the franchise before signing with Golden State in 2016. There, he helped Golden State win back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018, and was named the M.V.P. of each those finals. Durant tore his Achilles’ tendon throughout the 2019 finals, which Golden State lost to the Toronto Raptors.
Irving, a seven-time All-Star, had also won a championship before joining the Nets — in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The 2019-20 season — the primary with the Nets for Durant and Irving — was interrupted by the coronavirus, but for the Nets it was a wash anyway. Durant’s recovery from his Achilles’ tendon injury lasted all 12 months and the Nets got here up short within the playoffs. Within the 2020-21 season, the team added James Harden midseason after he asked to be traded from the Houston Rockets, nevertheless it lost within the second round of the playoffs.
Then the Nets began last season with all three superstars presumably able to play. But a Latest York City coronavirus vaccine mandate meant that Irving, who refused to be vaccinated, wouldn’t be allowed to play games in Brooklyn. The Nets decided to sit down Irving until he was eligible for all games fairly than allow him to be a part-time player. But they relented in December, and he began playing in road games where he was eligible to take part in January.
Durant and Harden helped the Nets to the highest of the Eastern Conference, however the team faltered after Durant injured his shoulder in January.
Harden, who had been irritated by Irving’s absences, requested a trade and was sent to Philadelphia for Ben Simmons in February. Simmons was coping with mental and physical ailments and has yet to play for the Nets. In March, Latest York City’s vaccine rules modified and Irving became eligible to play in Brooklyn.
The Nets earned the seventh seed within the Eastern Conference playoffs, but although they were as complete as that they had been all 12 months, the Boston Celtics swept them in the primary round.
“We had high expectations,” Durant said after Game 4 of that series. “Everybody had high expectations for us, but loads of stuff happened throughout the season that derailed us.”
He added later: “No regrets.”
Even when Irving had been criticized by the news media and fans, Durant had publicly supported him. As rumors swirled recently that Irving wanted out of Brooklyn, Durant said on his podcast that he wasn’t involved with Irving’s possible free agency.
“Basketball is clearly crucial thing, but I try to not let that get in the way in which of any individual else’s personal decision,” Durant said. “Like I said, whatever happens, the friendship will still be there.”
Durant’s request comes at a time when league offices are working to find out what their rosters will appear like next season either through trades or free-agency signings. Teams and players were capable of begin discussing free-agent deals at 6 p.m. on Thursday, and might make them official on July 6.
Durant’s transcendent talent would make him appealing to many teams, despite the $193 million remaining on his contract with the Nets. Trades for players of his caliber typically include several first-round draft picks.