Kevin Durant plans to go all-in with the Brooklyn Nets, coming full circle from his request to be traded this summer.
Durant kicks off a four-year maximum value contract in 2022-23 with an annual salary of $48.6 million due from owner Joe Tsai, who ultimately convinced the 33-year-old All-Star to stay with Brooklyn.
"I only control my job," Durant said at media day on Monday, the start of training camp for the Nets. "My job is to be a player."
Durant told the Nets on the eve of NBA free agency that he wanted out of Brooklyn. The demand came only days after point guard Kyrie Irving triggered his player option to come back to the Nets for the 2022-23 season and implied turmoil between the core players of the team. But Durant insisted all is well with Irving, with whom he met before signing with the Nets, despite confessing "doubts" about the general direction of the Nets and the leadership of coach Steve Nash.
"I voiced them to Joe," Durant said, adding that he also had meetings with Nash and general manager Sean Marks before agreeing to rescind his trade demand. "I'm getting older. I want to be in a place that's stable and try to build a championship culture. We came to a mutual agreement that we should keep moving forward."
While confessing the first-round playoff sweep against the Boston Celtics left him "embarrassed," Irving said Monday that he opted back in with Brooklyn because "it was the best decision for me," but pointedly described the offseason as a "cluster----."
"Hearing Kev's trade request, I opt in, I'm sitting at home ... it's awkward. It's very awkward," Irving said.
Durant said he was not surprised to be back with the Nets but didn't get into the accuracy of reports that he wanted to play with the Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat or Memphis Grizzlies. The Boston Celtics reportedly also showed strong interest in Durant, and the Golden State Warriors were among other teams in the rumor mill.
"I know I'm that good, that you're not just going to give me away," Durant said. "I know who I am."
Durant said none of the uncertainty of the offseason impacted his preparation to "be great" in 2022-23.
"I'm committed to moving forward with this team. I just keep being me every day," he said.
--Field Level Media