On September 26, it’s back to school for the vast majority of NBA franchises with the traditional Media Day. And among the teams we expected the most, there was necessarily the Brooklyn Nets. After an anything but calm summer obviously characterized by Kevin Durant’s transfer request, the latter arrived on the podium on Monday to explain himself on this subject which shook the NBA planet a few weeks ago. Selected pieces.
It didn’t take a fortune teller to know that the majority of questions from New York journalists were going to center on the trade request signed by KD at the end of last June. Why ? How ? What were the exact motivations and how does he see his future in Brooklyn? So many questions that deserved clear answers from the principal concerned. So for a good fifteen minutes on Monday, Durant took one question after another, microphone in hand and black Nets jersey on his shoulders.
“I had doubts about our ability to build a champion culture”
Unsurprisingly, the Nets’ chaotic season was at the heart of KD’s transfer request a few weeks ago. When he extended his contract for four more years in Brooklyn in the summer of 2021, he thought his group, also made up of Kyrie Irving and James Harden, could go all the way in the coming seasons. Certainly the elimination in the second round of the Playoffs against Milwaukee – the future champion – in seven games was a disappointment but Uncle Drew and the Bearded were both injured. Something to be optimistic about Brooklyn’s chances in 2021-22. The rest, we know it: Kyrie Irving unavailable because of his vaccination status, James Harden who sulks and who ends up being transferred against Ben Simmons in February, the Boomer who does not play the slightest match with the Nets because injured , and a proper sweep against Boston in the first round of the Playoffs. So inevitably, in his head, KD began to ask serious questions.
“As the season went on, you saw everything that happened. Constantly changing lineups, injuries, there’s been a lot of uncertainty and it’s put doubt in my mind for the next four years. I’m getting older, I want to be in a stable place and build a champion culture. I had doubts about that. »
Doubts that became increasingly important when Kevin Durant saw the Nets completely crumble following his knee injury in mid-January. During the 21 games that KD was absent, Brooklyn posted a poor record of 6 wins for 15 losses, thus going from the top of the table of the Eastern Conference to the play-in places. A dizzying fall.
“I think we could have fought a little more despite the circumstances, the injuries, the absences. When I got injured, we lost ten games in a row and I told myself that we should not lose some of those games, no matter who is on the field. The teams that challenge for the title struggle in the face of adversity. You saw the Warriors of Stephen Curry, he was injured when he arrived in the Playoffs and the team fought to win games, the same for the Mavericks without Luka Doncic. I think we had enough talent to do that too, and that’s what made me doubt. »
This KD dependence therefore quite frustrated the Nets superstar, who would have especially wanted to see step-up guys in his absence to allow the Brooklyn team to emerge from this bad period. It’s quite the opposite that happened and when we played three seasons in the Golden State dream team between 2016 and 2019, obviously it’s hard to pass.
“I want the Nets to be respected in the NBA community”
Finally deciding to withdraw his transfer request when he saw that the market was not playing in his favor and that the Nets still have a very nice team on paper, Kevin Durant seems ready to leave on new bases. But most importantly, he wants to see a much more resilient squad than last season’s, no matter how much adversity the Brooklyn team faces this season. A more resilient group, not taking any shortcuts, and really starting to maximize their potential to earn the respect of the entire NBA.
“I feel like no one respects the Nets on the court. And that’s what I want, the respect of the entire NBA community, as a team on how we play on both sides of the court, from managers to equipment managers. I want that respect, and it comes through the way you work every day. We skipped a few steps last year in our way of working, because of circumstances. »
In the eyes of Kevin Durant, the humiliation of last season must be enough for everyone to look in the mirror and question themselves in order to take the Nets where they want to go: at the top of the League. Otherwise, and if the Nets struggle once again like last year, can KD again request his transfer during the season? “After three years, Nets fans should know me and know how hard I work” he assures. “We went through a lot as a team and I always did my job. I don’t think I have to prove anything to Nets fans. I am committed to moving forward with this team. »
That is what is said.
Kevin Durant has just publicly explained the reasons for his transfer request. Now, after the discussions he had with manager Sean Marks, coach Steve Nash and owner Joe Tsai, the time has come to move forward. Step forward and use the enormous talent available to make the Nets a team that can really go for the title.
Source texte : Media Day Nets