Kevin Durant makes first comments since Nets trade request

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Kevin Durant has spoken for the first time since requesting a trade from the Nets. What he was trying to say, though, only raises more questions.

“The ones who were locked in that gym with me know what it is, they know what I’m about,” Durant tweeted on Saturday morning. “If u haven’t been in there with me, ask around.”

The 33-year-old superstar seems to be hitting back at the widespread criticism he has faced since calling Brooklyn ownership and telling them he wants out. That bombshell came as NBA free agency was about to open on Thursday and three years to the day after the former league MVP and two-time NBA champion joined Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan on the Nets. But the Super Team never was, with Durant and Irving playing just 44 regular-season games together and accounting for one playoff series victory.

What Durant meant by his tweet, though, is perplexing.

Kevin Durant has asked for a trade from the Brooklyn Nets.
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Few have questioned the 12-time All-Star’s efforts or work ethic during his short time in Brooklyn. He played hard, delivered and showed up to work, which was more than could be said at times for Irving, whose refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine left him watching from the sidelines this past season until New York City’s mandate was eventually dropped.

Though Durant missed the 2019-20 season with Brooklyn while he recovered from a torn Achilles suffered during the NBA Finals the previous season, he did average 28.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists in 90 games for the Nets.

That included, as The Post’s Ian O’Connor noted, his fadeaway jumper with one second left in Game 7 of the 2021 Eastern Conference finals against the Bucks in what was one of the most clutch shots in New York basketball history. Durant had 48 points in that overtime loss in which he played all 53 minutes and if it wasn’t for his “big-ass foot,” the Nets would have gone to the NBA Finals.

Other notable performances during his time with the Nets included his historic output in Game 5 against Milwaukee in which he racked up 49 points, 17 rebounds, 10 assists, three steals and two blocks; and his 42 points on 14-of-20 shooting, including 11-for-11 from the free-throw line, in a Game 5 win over the Celtics the previous round. In his first season with the Nets, Durant averaged 26.9 points and matched career highs in shooting percentage (53.7) and three-point percentage (45). 

If anything, it is his decision making that has been scrutinized, first for bolting from the Warriors and Steph Curry, who just won his fourth NBA title in six years, and in his decision to join the mercurial Irving, a player he wanted as part of the arrangement. Then there was the firing of Kenny Atkinson and hiring of Steve Nash, whom Durant was “excited” about despite Nash having never been a coach much less a head coach. The Nets were also swept twice in the first round in three years and less than 11 months ago Durant signed a four-year extension.

But now Durant, who won a pair of championships with the Warriors before coming to Brooklyn, has changed course again. Where he’ll land remains to be seen, though the Nets will rake in a huge haul in return for arguably the game’s best player.

For now, though, Durant is making it clear what he’s all about it, which appears to be his basketball ethos. But that was never in question.