Phoenix Suns star Kevin Durant isn’t interested in dwelling on hypotheticals surrounding his Brooklyn Nets stint.
“I mean, that’s just a pointless exercise, in my opinion, to think about what could’ve been,” Durant said after returning to Brooklyn on Wednesday in the Suns’ 136-120 win, courtesy of SNY’s Ben Krimmel. “What happened, that’s what I thought about, what actually happened in the reality of it. We didn’t have enough time together, that’s just it.
“Guys wanted to go their separate ways. We tried our hardest to salvage everything and bring everything together. We had three or four different teams from when I signed here to when I left.”
Durant signed with the Nets as a free agent in 2019, leaving the Golden State Warriors after winning two NBA titles in three seasons. He was joined in Brooklyn by friend and point guard Kyrie Irving, though Durant missed what would’ve been their first season together as he recovered from a torn Achilles suffered during the 2019 Finals.
However, once healthy, the duo struggled to meet lofty expectations together. Durant missed over half of the 2020-21 regular season, and despite adding James Harden that January, the star trio was felled by the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the playoffs.
The following year, Durant was again afflicted by injury, and Irving played just 29 games due to New York City’s COVID-19 protocols. Harden requested and was granted a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers at the February 2022 deadline. The Boston Celtics swept Durant and Irving’s Nets in the first round that season. By the time Durant and Irving were shipped midseason in 2022-23 to the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks, respectively, Durant, Irving, and Harden had played just 16 total games together across two seasons with only one playoff series win.
Despite the team’s underwhelming results, Durant argues he had his own success as a player and still took positives from his time in Brooklyn.
“As an individual, I was an All-Star every year, leading vote-getter every year in the All-Star Game, sold a lot of jerseys, 50/40/90 (shooting splits), averaged 30, All-NBA. Was that successful?” he said.
“But team success is a different thing. How the team does, you like to put that on one of the best players and call it a failure. But you look at the work, and you wanna talk about me individually, you can just look at the work that I’ve put in here.”
He added: “I think I’ve grown as a player. I think I’m on my way to mastering the game. Coming here helped push me closer to that, so that’s what I try to take from my time here.”