In a stunning turn of events, Nets superstar Kevin Durant has requested a trade out of Brooklyn, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Thursday.
The stunning news comes less than three days after Durant’s disgruntled teammate Kyrie Irving agreed to opt in to his $36.9 million player option following a week of turmoil. The report also adds a seismic wrinkle to the start of free agency, which is set to open Thursday at 6 p.m. ET.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported shortly thereafter that Durant, 33, and his business manager Rich Kleiman are already working with Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks on finding a trade.
Wojnarowski also reported the Suns and Heat are among the teams on Durant’s list of preferred destinations.
Thursday’s reports adds to what has been an explosive two weeks within the Nets organization. The majority of those headlines have revolved around Irving, whose decision to pick up his contract for next season led to the natural assumption that he would continue his still-blooming relationship with Durant on the floor.
With the news of his reported request now official, Durant is in line to command one of the richest trade packages in NBA history as team brass explores its options. However, Brooklyn is not obligated to move him to a team of his choice considering Durant is entering the first year of a four-year, $198 million contract extension he signed in August and does not have a no-trade clause.
Despite Durant and Irving’s tight bond off the floor, the close friends have played in just 58 of the team’s 247 games (including the playoffs) in the last three years since signing as free agents in the summer of 2019.
Once seen as the favorite in the East, the Nets started their tumultuous 2021–22 campaign with a Durant-Irving–James Harden trio, and ended it 44–38 after trading Harden to the 76ers for Ben Simmons in February and having Irving for only 29 regular-season games. The team was eventually swept in the first round by the eventual Eastern Conference champion Celtics.
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