Why did Kevin Durant request a trade from Nets? Lack of playoff success, relationship with Kyrie Irving lead to stunning Brooklyn departure

Why did Kevin Durant request a trade from Nets? Lack of playoff success, relationship with Kyrie Irving lead to stunning Brooklyn departure

On what is already the most chaotic day on the NBA calendar, Kevin Durant just upped the ante and sent the entire league into pandemonium. 

Many of the questions surrounding the Nets during the 2022 NBA offseason were about the status of Kyrie Irving. Would he stay with the Nets, or would he opt out of his deal and sign elsewhere?

Irving quelled those concerns by saying there was “no way” he could leave Kevin Durant alone in Brooklyn. Now, it doesn’t look like he will have to worry about that.

On Thursday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Durant was requesting a trade away from the Nets and that Brooklyn’s brain trust, headlined by general manager Sean Marks, is working to grant it.

A trade will bring Durant’s three-year tenure with the Nets to a disappointing conclusion. Brooklyn won just one playoff series during his time with the team. Granted, he didn’t play during the first season of his contract as he recovered from a torn Achilles, but still, the Durant-Irving pairing was supposed to bring a title to Brooklyn.

Instead, it will likely key yet another rebuild for Brooklyn.

Why is Durant looking to leave the Nets? Here’s what we know about his decision to request a trade.

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Why did Kevin Durant request a trade away from the Nets? 

Durant’s tenure with the Nets didn’t quite go as he planned. The hope was that he and Kyrie Irving would establish themselves as a dynamic, one-two punch for Brooklyn. Instead, they rarely played together at all, and by the end, it appears that their relationship may have been frayed. 

Wojnarowski reports that after Irving opted into his deal with the Nets, Durant had no contact with him. That made a trade seem inevitable.

Incredibly, Durant and Irving ended up playing just 44 games together during their Nets careers. A combination of injuries for the two and Irving’s refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine limited how frequently they were on the floor together.

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As such, Brooklyn’s two stars never really got to carry the team for prolonged stretches. And even when they added James Harden to the mix, it didn’t work. That “Big 3” played in just 16 total games together before Harden requested a trade out of Brooklyn.

The lacking playing time together with Irving and Harden made it hard for Durant to win in Brooklyn. He won just one series in three years there and posted an overall record of 7-9 in the 16 postseason games he played. And in the four he didn’t play while recovering from a torn Achilles, the Nets were 0-4.

Now, Durant will look to go elsewhere and try to win his third NBA title.

Kevin Durant contract details

Kevin Durant has four years and $194 million remaining on his current deal and will not hit free agency until the summer of 2026 when he will be 37 years old. Durant signed a four-year extension with the Nets last August with the presumption that he would remain with the team through at least the 2025-26 season.

Durant is slated to make $42.9 million this year and will make $53.3 million in the final year of his deal.