Kevin Durant was tired of the way the Nets were preparing behind closed doors and how opposing teams perceived them.
The Nets star went into detail about his offseason trade request during an interview with Bleacher Report, which published Wednesday after the Nets’ loss in Sacramento Tuesday night.
“It wasn’t difficult at all to request a trade because it was about ball,” Durant told Chris Haynes. “I went to them and was like, ‘Yo, I don’t like how we are preparing. I don’t like shootarounds. I like practices. I need more. I want to work on more s–t. Hold me accountable. Get on my ass in film if that’s going to help you get on everybody else’s head. I want to do more closeouts. I want to work on more shell drills at practice.’
“This was the type of s–t I was coming at them with. It wasn’t like, ‘Yo, y’all need to make sure everybody around me can make my life easier.’ Hell nah, I want to make everybody else’s life easier. Ask Steve Nash, you can go call him right now. I would say, ‘Yo, I need more closeout drills. We need to practice more.’ That’s what I was on.
“I wasn’t feeling that, and nobody was on that same vibe with me. Jacque Vaughn is. I had some complaints in the summer, and my complaints were not about just me; it was about how we are moving as a unit. I want us to be respected out here in the basketball world. I don’t want players to look at us and say, ‘Oh man, these [expletive] are full of s–t. That’s not the type of team I want to be on.’ So when we’re all playing like s–t, you know the one person they’re going to look at. That’s why I requested a trade.”
During the offseason, Durant reportedly issued an ultimatum to Nets owner Joe Tsai, telling him to fire head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks, or he’d be gone. Ultimately, all parties worked things out and Durant reported to training camp. The Nets, however, fired Nash after the team started the season 2-5.
Durant, 34, says the Nets have “been showing” better practices and preparation. He praised the new coach Vaughn and his staff and says he’s having “fun.”
His leadership ability was questioned by some after requesting a trade from Brooklyn. That doesn’t seem to sit well with him.
“I’m not a leader? What the f–k does that mean?” Durant said to Haynes. “A lot of people say I’m not a leader because I didn’t tell Kyrie [Irving] to get vaccinated. Come on. Or I didn’t condemn Kyrie for leaving the team, going out and living his life. I’m not about to tell a grown-ass man what he can and can’t do with his own life and dissect his views or how he thinks about s–t.”
Durant doesn’t share his private conversations with teammates because he doesn’t “operate” that way.
“I don’t need to show or tell everybody what I’m doing with my teammates so y’all can pump me up and say, ‘Yeah, KD, you’re the boss, you’re the leader.’ These other [expletives] need that. I don’t,” he told Haynes. “I don’t come to you and say, ‘Haynes, write this story about me.’ I don’t do that to nobody. But I come here and respect y’all. I talk to y’all like a real one, even after a blowout [loss].”
Despite being a two-time NBA champion with the Warriors, critics have claimed Durant needs to win another ring to cement his legacy. He thinks that’s “bulls–t.”
“My legacy is predicated on what Cam Thomas is learning from me and what he’ll take away to help him by the time he’s in his 10th year. That’s my legacy,” Durant told Haynes. “What I did with Andre Roberson, the confidence I helped him build when he was in the league. That’s my legacy. Being able to play with Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry and Kyrie and still be me. Yeah, that’s my legacy. That’s who I am. That’s what I bring to the game.
“I can play with anybody, anywhere, at any time, and you know I’m going bring it every day. That should be my legacy.”