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#pounditTuesday, July 16, 2024

Kevin Durant explains why trade demands are good for the NBA

Kevin Durant on the sideline

Feb 16, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant looks on against the LA Clippers during the first half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both made trade requests earlier this month that were granted by the Brooklyn Nets, and the two superstars have faced some criticism for bolting after things did not go their way. Neither player feels that the backlash is warranted.

Durant spoke with reporters at the All-Star game over the weekend about the trend of players requesting and demanding trades. The Phoenix Suns star said he believes it is “great for the league” because of the excitement and fan interest it generates.

“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,” Durant said, as transcribed by Jasmyn Wimbish of CBS Sports. “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.”

Irving agreed. He questioned why it is viewed as a bad thing that players want to make decisions for their “happiness” and “peace of mind.” He also took the opportunity to remind everyone how special he is, as usual.

“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,” Irving said. “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.”

The flip side of the argument, of course, is that players are not honoring their contracts and are making it impossible for teams to build contenders. Irving’s off-court antics were one of the biggest reasons the Nets fell short of expectations over the past three-plus seasons. Yet, he still seemed to blame the franchise after both he and Durant skipped town.

Durant may be right that trade demands create a lot of buzz for the NBA, but they leave teams in terrible spots. That has become problematic in many situations.

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