The Brooklyn Nets dynasty that never was will certainly have many documentaries, books and articles written about it. For all the collective talent between Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, the trio only managed to play 16 games together before all three stars requested trades from the Nets.
Harden forced Brooklyn's hand last season at the trade deadline when he wanted to head to the Philadelphia 76ers after a tenure with the Nets that he recently described as "frustrating." Durant requested a trade first during this past offseason but retracted it after talking to ownership, agreeing to play this season with the goal of winning a championship. Then Irving, who caused his fair share of controversy during his time with the Nets, demanded a trade from the team just six days before the trade deadline on Feb. 9. He was then dealt to the Dallas Mavericks three days later. That surprising move then led to Durant requesting a trade again, which landed him with his preferred destination of the Phoenix Suns.
All three players received varying levels of criticism for requesting trades. When Durant and Irving were asked about it during All-Star Weekend, both guys said they don't see the issue in star players wanting to control where they play.
"I don't think it's bad for the league, it's bringing more eyes to the league," Durant said. "The tweets that I got, and the news hits that we got from me being traded, Kyrie being traded -- it just brings more attention to the league and that's really what makes you money is when you get more attention. I think it's great for the league, to be honest. Teams have been trading players and making acquisitions for a long time, now when a player can dictate where he wants to go, leave in free agency or demand a trade it's just part of the game now. I don't think it's a bad thing."
That's a very diplomatic response from Durant, and he's also got a point in his opinion. Durant's trade to the Phoenix Suns sent shockwaves around the league, and it'll certainly drum up new levels of interest in the NBA as it returns from the All-Star break. Everyone is going to want to watch Durant's long-awaited return from his MCL injury and see how he meshes alongside Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul in Phoenix.
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While Durant took the approach of responding from a business perspective about trade demands, Irving's response was more personal.
"Why doesn't anybody have the ability to ask for trades?" Irving said. "That's my question, when did it become terrible to make great business decisions for yourself, your happiness and your peace of mind? Not every employer you're gonna get along with. So if you have a chance to go somewhere else and you're doing it legally, I don't think there's a problem with it. Again, the speculation and narratives is what makes this entertainment kind of seem a little bit more important or more priority than it actually is, like it's my life. It's not just a dream that everybody can gossip about. I take it very serious, and most of the work that I do doesn't get seen so I don't know if it'll ever be truly appreciated."
Irving and Durant likely aren't the only two players who feel this way around the league, they're also not the first players to request trades for a different situation. However, the nature in which both players left before the Feb. 9 trade deadline was unlike any we've ever seen in the league. It'll always make people think about what could've been had Durant, Harden and Irving figured things out in Brooklyn.