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New Horizons for Kevin Durant: Leaving Nets’ Turmoil for Sucess with Suns

Durant Reflects on Nets Days as current Spree with Suns Shines Bright

Kevin Durant, popularly known for his undying zeal for securing victories, has once again made headlines after returning to New York leading the sizzling Suns. Following Sunday’s game against the Knicks, Durant sat for a candid conversation with The Post, opening up about his past spell with the Brooklyn Nets, and the major reason for instigating a shift in the prior season’s trade deadline.

A tumultuous period riddled with inconsistencies was cited as the primary catalyst for this change. Durant expressed, ‘In Brooklyn? Well, inconsistencies marred our performance as a collective, our identity as a team was unclear.’

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Continuing his account, Durant highlighted, ‘To fight for championships, you need an identity established from the very first day. Unfortunately, we were hampered by several out-of-hand events that broke our chain of uninterrupted progress.’

Shifting the narrative to a more comprehensive one, Durant pointed out that such ups and downs are inherently part of the NBA landscape, as much as they relate to business in general.

Durant simultaneously underlined some silver linings, elaborating, ‘These incidents propelled us to improve as individuals on the court, and a wealth of experience was gained from the entire situation. This newfound knowledge has now granted us a pronounced edge in navigating our future within the NBA, from executives to athletes.’

Reflecting on his personal growth, the former Nets star shared his biggest takeaway from the past mixed-bag 3½ seasons, ‘I’ve learned the importance of working effectively with others’.

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Durant further pinpointed other essential learnings from his time in Brooklyn, including the skill to manage player injuries, various lineup alterations, and coaching turnovers.

He asserted, ‘This period served as a masterclass on numerous aspects of the game. Ignoring these lessons would be regrettable as there were so many insights hidden within this chapter.’ Unquestionably, the chapter had no shortage of hardships.

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As Durant joined the Nets back in 2019, he found the first year consumed with an Achilles injury rehabilitation.

The following two and a half years presented an unstable cast of characters, from player arrivals and departures to multiple coaching switch-ups—counting Kenny Atkinson, Steve Nash (whom Durant reportedly attempted to unseat), and Jacque Vaughn. ‘I was determined to bring some regularity amidst the turbulence,’ Vaughn reportedly told The Post.

Reflecting on their shared stint, Vaughn said, ‘We did share some successes, winning 18 of 20 games while Durant showcased outstanding performance. I was well aware of the expectations he carried; he was here with the grand goal of clinching a title.’

A standard was cemented the very moment Durant teamed up with Kyrie Irving, marking a ‘championship or bust’ mentality. With the advent of James Harden in the subsequent season, expectations only escalated.

Unfortunately, the ‘Big 3′, due to various circumstances such as injuries and Irving’s multiple absences resulting from suspensions, leaves, and vaccine opposition, only got to partake in a mere 16 games together. With Ben Simmons taking Harden’s place, the new trio could only muster 441 minutes across 24 games. Against this backdrop, the Suns’ mere seven lineups thus far seem like a beacon of stability.

As Durant reflected on his Brooklyn saga, he underscored, ‘You’ve seen it all transpire in Brooklyn over the last couple of years.’ This league is all about resilience. Players may get injured or left out of the lineup. However, we are professionals for a reason—we rise up and embrace the challenge. Adversity introduces a team’s true mettle.’

Triggered by what Durant witnessed in terms of the Nets’ character, he requested a trade to the Suns prior to the summer of 2022. The initial refusal from Phoenix to include Mikal Bridges caused the Nets to steadfastly hold onto Durant. Only when Nets’ GM Sean Marks and owner Joe Tsai extracted Bridges from Phoenix did the trade breakthrough finally occur in February.

Following the reshuffle, the Suns have been on a winning spree, marking six consecutive NBA victories. Durant is beginning to witness his envisioned success materialize in Phoenix. ‘I actively tried to execute this move earlier, but they were not ready to let go of me,’ Durant admitted.

Elaborating further, he added, ‘I did my part, but time was not on our side. I had no intention to miss games because of these happenings, so with the commencement of the new season, I decided to go with the flow. Whatever was to transpire, would transpire. My entire focus was to prepare for the season. Fortunately, everything transpired at the perfect time—just as it was meant to.’

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