Two-time NBA champion Kevin Durant requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, according to multiple sources surrounding the future Hall of Fame small forward. The 2013-14 NBA MVP made the decision shortly after his friend and teammate Kyrie Irving opted into the player option on his contract. After winning the 2016 NBA championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Irving has had an up and down road suffering continual injuries throughout each season and being a cause of dysfunction in the locker rooms of both the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets. Most of his teammates speak his praises, but there’s no denying that there’s usually a lack of team chemistry and consistency of play whenever he’s on a team. After losing to the Golden State Warriors in 2016 (in which he, Russell Westbrook, and the Oklahoma City Thunder had a 3-1 lead against the 73 win team in the Western Conference Finals), Durant signed with them, making the dynasty that we’ll look back on even stronger at the time. They won back-to-back titles, beating LeBron James’ Cavs twice, with Durant winning Finals MVP. Yet it was clear to KD and basketball fans around the world that something rang false about those rings.
Look, I’m all about doing what’s best for one’s self. KD liked the Bay Area and stated how OKC and GSW were never bitter rivals or anything, hence him making the business decision that ultimately shook the NBA for three whole years (surprisingly so, you’d think a team with KD, Stephen Curry, and a handful of future Hall of Famers would make at least five finals together but KD ruptures his Achilles and leaves the following summer). His signing with the Brooklyn Nets suggested an athlete concerned with his legacy, who wanted to create his own culture and win a championship as the main alpha dog without an already built system around him (a system that won a championship prior to his signing). After trading James Harden and getting swept by the Boston Celtics in this year’s playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets are now considering trading their two remaining superstar players (Ben Simmons is on the team too but he’s in street clothes as much as Anthony Davis is. That was a Chuck reference if you know you know), and while it seems the only team interested in Irving as this point are the equally dysfunctional Los Angeles Lakers, the majority of the league would love to acquire the talents of KD.
The Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns are his preferred landing spots, both of which were the number one seeded teams in their respective conferences. Since KD has four years left on his deal, it would have to be through trade, which means Miami has little to offer in a trade, especially since KD stated that he’d only want to play for Miami if Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, and Bam Adebayo remained on the roster. Phoenix would have to ship Deandre Ayton and several other assets, but the idea of KD, Devin Booker, and Chris Paul on the same team does sound appealing, at least on paper. The Toronto Raptors and Memphis Grizzlies could package deals around Pascal Siakam and Jaren Jackson Jr. respectively (in addition to a boatload of draft picks of course), but the most interesting possible destination to me is the Boston Celtics. They could offer Jaylen Brown, Grant Williams, and other hard-working role players that seem to thrive in Boston, but it would mean KD would once again join a team that beat him the prior year (and would go on to make the NBA finals). It’s obviously different because it would be through trade, but it still begs the question- does KD want to build a winning culture or win now? Building a great team, let alone a dynasty, takes many years of trial and error, and the 12-time all-star isn’t getting any younger. Many questions surround arguably the best basketball player in the world, yet so few answers.