Kevin Durant said he’s looking forward to another season with the Brooklyn Nets, instead of looking back on a tumultuous offseason that saw the NBA superstar request a trade and reportedly ask for his coach and general manager’s dismissal.
"Can we move on past that at some point?" Durant told reporters following Friday’s practice. "I know it’s an interesting story. I know that it took up most of the offseason and drama sells. I get that, but I didn’t miss any games, I didn’t miss any practices.
"I’m still here, so hopefully we can move past that."
Durant is back for a third season in Brooklyn after eventually rescinding the trade demand that created a firestorm around NBA circles for much of the summer. The 2013-14 league MVP and two-time NBA Finals MVP acknowledged during Monday’s media day that he’s no longer at odds with the organisation after ironing out his differences in a lengthy discussion with team owner Joe Tsai in August.
"I was upset," Durant stated. "And as a family, they understood that I was upset, some of the stuff they agreed with. So we talked about it, and it was over a couple of months, a couple of weeks, towards the end of that where we talked about it.
"We came out and we voiced all our concerns about how we can all be better. And it just worked out from there, and I’m glad I’m here now."
Durant refused to expound on the rumours that he also requested the firings of head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks following the Nets’ disappointing and injury-plagued 2021-22 season.
"There’s a lot of (stuff) that was inaccurate," he said. "But it’s like I don’t want to go through it right now."
Nash also said earlier this week that he didn’t entirely believe the reports that Durant had asked for his ousting.
"I never thought that was 100 per cent," he said. "It’s not black and white like that, so there was a lot of factors. A lot of things behind the scenes. A lot of things that are reported are not 100 per cent accurate. So you get fragmented bits of truth. You get things that are flat out not true. It happens. So I never really got caught up in all that stuff.”
With his differences behind him, Durant said he’s eagerly awaiting the new season and the chance for the Nets to erase the memory of a turbulent 2021-22 campaign that saw the franchise trade disgruntled All-Star James Harden midseason and had Kyrie Irving limited to just 29 games, in large part due to New York City’s vaccination requirement that prevented the star point guard from playing most of the team’s home games.
The Nets also head into 2022-23 with a healthy Ben Simmons, the key player Brooklyn received from the Philadelphia 76ers in the Harden trade. The three-time All-Star has yet to appear in a game with the Nets and missed all of last season due to a lingering feud with his former team and a back injury that later required surgery.
"When you look at the grand scheme of things, we haven’t been healthy at all for two years," Durant said. "Each playoffs we didn’t have major guys, (they) miss minutes. Not just role players, but guys that make a lot of money.
"When you got $50 million dollars on your bench this last playoffs with Joe [Harris] and Ben and then the playoffs before that, I want to see what our team looks like in full, with guys being healthy, with us having a little bit of continuity. So we’ll see what happens."