- Phoenix Suns star Kevin Durant has said Kyrie Irving forced him to request a trade from the Brooklyn Nets
- Durant and Irving both left the Nets ahead of last Thursday's trade deadline (Feb 9)
- The duo failed to live up to the sky-high expectations, winning just one playoff series together
Kevin Durant spoke at length during his introductory press conference with his new team Phoenix Suns.
The 34-year-old star fondly spoke about his time with the Brooklyn Nets. He reportedly pushed to be moved days after Kyrie Irving requested a trade. He said Irving's request took away the team's identity.
Before the two were traded, the Nets were starting to look like a genuine Eastern Conference contender. They went on a 12-game winning streak before Durant sprained his MCL.
The Durant and Irving era in Brooklyn was the most turbulent in recent seasons. Irving's off-court drama was in the spotlight many times, meaning the end of his association with the team was imminent.
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He was traded to the Dallas Mavericks ahead of last Thursday's (Feb 9) trade deadline. Durant followed him out of the exit door days later.
How Irving's exit affected Durant
The two-time NBA champion got emotional while talking about his time with the Nets. One could hear his voice crack when talking about the Nets.
He said Irving's shock departure took away the team's identity, a decision which was tough for him, according to ESPN.
"I was upset that we couldn't finish," Durant said. "I thought we had some good momentum. We were finally building a culture that we always wanted....So without him we didn't have a clear identity. So that was tough for me to stomach. I love playing with those guys throughout the year. I felt like we had dudes that were stepping up."
James Harden later joined the duo. It is baffling that they only won one total playoff series together. Now all three players play for different teams, ending an era that never was.
As dangerous as they looked, the Nets 'Big 3' never got on the floor together. They played just 16 games together, going 13-3 in those games, according to USA Today.
Durant rates Suns title chances
Sports Brief earlier reported on Duirant speaking about the title chances of the Phoenix Suns in the press conference graced by thousands of fans.
He said the team has what it takes to win a championship. They came close in 2021 after reaching the NBA Finals but lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games.
The top-seeded Suns were also embarrassed in Game 7 of the 2022 Western Conference semis against the Dallas Mavericks. They lost 123-90 and were down 57-27 at halftime.