Kevin Durant has requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, sources told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. Per Haynes, Durant listed the Phoenix Suns as a preferred destination. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Miami Heat are also on Durant's wish list, but that the Nets intend to trade Durant wherever they can get the best deal.
Durant enters next season on the first year of a four-year, $194 million extension. He's under contract through the 2025-26 season.
A 12-time All-Star, Durant joined the Nets in 2019 alongside Kyrie Irving as Brooklyn set its sights on winning an NBA championship. The Nets were swept in the first round of the playoffs last season by the Boston Celtics after a tumultuous regular season. Brooklyn traded fellow All-Star James Harden midseason for Ben Simmons from the Philadelphia 76ers. Simmons has yet to play a game for the Nets.
Kyrie Irving drama looms large
Meanwhile, All-Star guard Kyrie Irving was a part-time player during the regular season after he refused to comply with a New York City COVID-19 vaccine regulation. Irving's future with the franchise has lingered over the offseason as he and the team reportedly reached an "impasse." General manager Sean Marks said at the conclusion of Brooklyn's season that he wants players who can "be available." Irving played 29 games during the regular season last year.
Despite the reported impasse, Irving reportedly opted into his $36.9 million player option earlier this week. The transaction leaves open the possibility of a trade as the two sides have not agreed on a long-term deal. Durant and Irving joined the Nets together three seasons ago as a package deal. Now, it appears that Durant is ready to move on.
If Durant is eventually dealt, the move will mark the end of wildly disappointing era in Brooklyn. The Nets remained among the NBA title favorites since Durant and Irving teamed up in Brooklyn. In two relatively healthy seasons together — Durant missed his first season recovering from an Achilles injury — Durant and Irving have failed to advance the Nets past the second round of the playoffs.
Brooklyn lost in seven games to the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks in the 2021 Eastern Conference semifinals. Then came last season's four-game sweep at the hands of the conference champion Celtics.
Durant, 33, has been slowed by injury in recent seasons. When healthy, though, he remains an elite player at the top of the NBA. Wherever he plays next season, he'll bring with him expectations to compete for a championship.