Kevin Durant is seeking another championship, but he’s not trying to cut down the Nets.
Seven weeks after being traded to the Suns after running mate Kyrie Irving was traded to the Mavericks, Durant showed no ill will towards the Nets.
In fact, he wishes his three-plus years — which resulted in only one playoff series win — had turned out differently.
Durant said, “I hate that it had to go down like this.” told the athletic, “I wasn’t trying to prove that the Nets are an organization. I was trying to prove that the Nets are a great organization, that they care about their players, that they want the best for their players. Sure s–t just didn’t work. I understand that. I’m not here to try to prove the Nets were wrong, I just think they did amazing by me when I was there, not just the trade Together.
Durant last played for the Nets on Jan. 8. He was sidelined by injury – as he had been for most of his tenure – when the Irving-forced teardown occurred just before February 1. 9 deadline.
“Once he asked, I was trying to figure out which direction the team was going,” Durant said. “Once I didn’t understand where we were going, I tried to make the best decision for me.”
The Nets sent Durant to one of their desired spots to form a new Big 3 with Chris Paul and Devin Booker, while holding back Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and four unprotected first-round draft picks.
Bridges, who was reportedly reluctant to include, got off to a historic start, and Johnson scored just a team-high 31 points in the win to add breathing room in the playoff race.
Durant is not looking for the Nets to struggle and gain support.
“No. Hell no,” he said. “I want the best for that organization. I wanted the best for us in every game.
It all traces back to the Nets back signing a four-year, $164 million contract knowing he had to sit out the 2019-20 season with a ruptured Achilles.
“Coming out of an Achilles injury, coming back into the game – they made sure they were there for me every step of the way,” he said. “And I’ll appreciate it for life. I think we’ll be bonded as family members for a lifetime, no matter how it ends.”
In a candid moment, Bridges acknowledged that it’s difficult to rule out other results affecting the Nets’ playoff seeding.
“Even when I don’t [look], it always randomly pops up when I’m on my phone or something,” Bridges said. “Posts the NBA standings because East and West are getting tighter. Even when I’m not looking for it, I still see it. This happens all the time.
The Nets won game one in the battle for No. 1. 6 seed with a combination of their previous win and loss to the Heat.
“Obviously, we have to take it one game at a time,” Bridges said, “but it’s also good to see things working our way.”
De’Ron Sharp (sprained left ankle) is probable against the Hawks on Friday. The backup center attempted three shots in seven minutes against the Rockets.