The Nets’ latest foray into the world of superteams may be over.
Kevin Durant, a 12-time NBA All-Star, requested a trade and the Nets gave permission to find a trade partner, Rich Kleiman, Durant’s business manager. told ESPN. Durant’s request came three days after Kyrie Irving opted out of the final year of his four-year contract.
Durant and Irving signed four-year contracts with the Nets in 2019, but Durant signed an extension last year that runs through 2026.
Durant, 33, is widely regarded as one of the greatest scorers in NBA history. He won the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 2014, one of four seasons in which Durant led the league in scoring.
Durant played in 55 games for the Nets last season and averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game.
Durant and Irving came to Brooklyn hoping to win a championship together after Durant recovered from a torn Achilles tendon in the 2019 Finals while he was in Golden State. They were close friends before joining the Nets.
“We want to finish our careers together,” Irving told reporters at an introductory press conference. “We want to do it as a team, and what better place to do it than Brooklyn?”
Even when Irving was criticized by the media and fans, Durant publicly supported him. Irving missed much of the season while also being ineligible for home games because he refused a coronavirus vaccine.
“I can’t end a friendship based on something,” Durant told Yahoo in April after the Boston Celtics swept the Nets in the first round of the playoffs. “Our friendship is based on who we are as people.”
With rumors swirling recently that Irving wanted out of Brooklyn, Durant said on his podcast that he wasn’t involved in Irving’s possible free agency.
“Basketball is obviously the most important thing, but I try not to let it come into someone else’s personal decision. Like I said, no matter what happens, it’s still going to be a friendship,” Durant said.