Few sagas have captivated the NBA in 2022 like the fate of Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant. The 12-time All-Star and 2014 MVP requested a trade last summer, then relented and showed up for the 2022-23 season. He’s currently averaging 30.3 points on 52.4% shooting from the floor for the 6-9 Nets, not where he hoped he’d be in terms of winning, but seemingly recommitted. That hasn’t stopped trade rumors from swirling, especially as the fate of teammate Kyrie Irving remains up in the air.
Writing for Bleacher Report today, Chris B Haynes shared an exclusive interview with Durant as the superstar explained his summer outlook, the reasoning behind the demand, and what has changed since.
Haynes quotes Durant explaining that he wasn’t looking for the Nets to build a team around him, but to build the existing roster into a better team:
“It wasn’t difficult at all to request a trade because it was about ball,” Durant told B/R. “I went to them and was like, ‘Yo, I don’t like how we are preparing. I don’t like shootarounds. I like practices. I need more. I want to work on more s—t. Hold me accountable. Get on my ass in film if that’s going to help you get on everybody else’s head. I want to do more closeouts. I want to work on more shell drills at practice.’
“This was the type of s—t I was coming at them with. It wasn’t like, ‘Yo, y’all need to make sure everybody around me can make my life easier.’ Hell nah, I want to make everybody else’s life easier. Ask Steve Nash, you can go call him right now. I would say, ‘Yo, I need more closeout drills. We need to practice more.’ That’s what I was on.
Durant went on to praise new head coach Jacque Vaughn, who replaced Steve Nash on the bench after a rough start to the season. Durant says Vaughn and he share an outlook about competing and preparation, which Durant believes is a key to earning respect around the league:
I want us to be respected out here in the basketball world. I don’t want players to look at us and say, ‘Oh man, these [expletive] are full of s—t. That’s not the type of team I want to be on.’ So when we’re all playing like s—t, you know the one person they’re going to look at. That’s why I requested a trade.”
Haynes goes far deeper with Durant, including his views on leadership (and not being tabbed as a true leader), playing in the absence of Irving and fellow star Ben Simmons, and much more.