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SACRAMENTO — A historic 153-121 rout unleashed by the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night added to an already chaotic start to the season for the Brooklyn Nets. It was the most points the Kings had scored in 29 years.
What can go wrong with networks? How much can Kevin Durant take?
Rival executives keep an eye on Durant’s temperature in hopes of getting another commercial order.
In an exclusive interview with Bleacher Report with the two-time Finals MVP after a 32-point defeat, he revealed the details of his trade request last summer, what he’s looking for moving forward, his trust in new Nets head coach Jack Vaughn, and how his relationship with the leaders is defined. Kyrie Irving and why he’s enjoying this season despite his lack of wins and feuds.
To gauge what might happen in the future, it is important to know why certain things happened in the past.
“It wasn’t hard at all to ask for a trade because it was about the ball,” Durant told B/R. “I went to them and said, ‘Me, I don’t like the way we’re preparing.'” I don’t like shooting. I love the exercises. I need more. I want to work on more. responsible. Get my ass in the movie if it will help you get anyone else’s head. I want to do more closures. I want to work on more serendipity drills in training.
“That was the kind of thing I was dealing with. It wasn’t like, ‘You, you gotta make sure everyone around me can make my life easier.'” Hell, I want to make everyone else’s life easier. Ask Steve Nash, you can call him right now. I’d say, “Hey, I need more close-up rehearsals.” We need to practice more.” That’s what I was.
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“I wasn’t feeling it, and no one was feeling the same way with me. Jack Vaughn was, too. I had some complaints in the summer, and my complaints weren’t just about me; they were about how we moved as a unit. I want us to be respected here in the basketball world. No I want players to look at us and say, ‘Man, those [expletive] filled with s – t. This is not the kind of team I want to be on. So when we’re all playing like s–t, you know who’s going to catch a glimpse of it. That’s why I asked for a deal.”
The Nets added the firing of Nash as head coach and the promotion of Von Spark, but it would take more than one other coach stalking the sidelines to put them among the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
Durant told B/R. “The coaches have done a great job, regardless of this loss tonight and the last game. I think we’ve been preparing ourselves really well. The guys want to win. We’re playing as hard as we can. That’s what I really need.”
“That’s what I said last summer. I didn’t feel like we got these things last year like good preparation, great energy to start a real chemistry between the squad and I feel we’re building that now. We’ve had some players in and out of the squad, but I think the players have been discovering their roles within And it was fun, aside from games like tonight.”
Through all the turmoil, Durant says he’s happy with the team and enjoys navigating the turns that are thrown at him.
“It was fun grinding with those guys. It was fun grinding with Jack. It was fun trying to leverage myself to help everyone get better. I’m learning the game more and seeing all kinds of crazy defenses every night. I never know how the team is going to guard me. All of this helps me mentally as a player to see things a little bit slower, to play a little bit slower.”
With Irving still suspended, and with Ben Simmons’ availability unknown from game to game, Durant is repeatedly left on an island to fend off opposition. But this is where he has the most fun.
“Individually, I’m like, ‘Okay, I have to dodge five defenders,'” but it’s fun going through those things because they make me better as a basketball player. If I can try everything in the league, then my career is set. I’ve experienced it all: the leagues. Player of the Year, All-Star, Free Agency, Trade Request, All-Star MVP, Olympics… I’ve done it all in this league.
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“So yeah, I’m having something that I wasn’t expecting the last couple of years with guys going in and out of the lineup, not playing well, getting swept by the seventh seed in the first round. All of that — that’s part of the league. That’s part of everyone’s journey. Just because I have to To have it doesn’t mean I’m miserable. I’ve seen a lot of guys go through bulls in the league. So now I have a perspective on that. It’s all about the s-t experience while I’m here. I only get a certain amount of time as an NBA player. I can’t Did this forever. So I’m interested in trying everything while I’m here.”
Highlighting what he values in a healthy work environment, Durant answers several questions about the discontent he felt in the past off-season. He sought accountability from the front office and coaching staff, a form of leadership.
But when the leaders in the NBA are mentioned, his name is never mentioned.
“I’m not a leader? What does that f-k mean?” Durant asked B/R. “A lot of people say I’m not a leader because I didn’t tell Kerry to get vaccinated. Come on. Or I didn’t condemn Kerry for leaving the team and getting out and living his life. I’m not about to tell.” an adult man what he can and cannot do with his life and dissect his opinions or how he thinks s – t.
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“We can have a conversation and exchange views about how I feel about it and how you feel about it, but no one else needs to know or hear our conversations because we are adult men. It works like that.
“I don’t need to show or tell everyone what I’m doing with my teammates so that you all can get me excited and say, ‘Yeah, KD, you’re the boss, you’re the captain. These others [expletives] need to. Me, no. I don’t come to you and say, “Heinz, write this story on me.” I don’t do that to anyone. But I come here and respect you all. I talk to you all like a real person, even after a blast [loss].
In year 16, Durant says he takes pride in remaining a top-level player and wants to set an example of how a player can maximize situations that may not be ideal. He said the Nets fall short of the best in the league on paper, but he hopes to instill confidence in his teammates that they have a legitimate chance against anyone.
Look at our starting line-up. Edmond Sumner, Royce O’Neill, Joe Harris, [Nic] Claxton and I. It’s not disrespectful, but what do you expect from that group? durant asked b/t. “You expect us to win because I’m over there. So if you’re watching from that lens, you expect us to play well because No. 7 is over there.
“I’m having a really good time. I hope you can all hear me talking during the game. If I get more of a mic people will stop asking me if I’m happy or not. I’m enjoying every moment I’m on this court, and part of it is because I tore my Achilles tendon. And the plague I didn’t know if we were going to play again, I didn’t know if I was going to go play again.
“I was just like, ‘This can’t be for me.'” I have to really enjoy every moment that I’m here. That’s part of being a professional. I have to be adaptable, I have to be aggressive, I have to talk to my teammates the right way. That’s the journey and the battle.
“All that extra stuff—“You gotta win before you retire and make sure your legacy is straight on”—that’s bullshit for me. My legacy is built on what Cam Thomas learns from me and what I’m going to use to help him by the time he’s in his 10th year. That’s it. My legacy. What I did with Andre Roberson, the confidence I helped him build when he was in the league. That’s my legacy. Being able to play with Russell Westbrook, Steve Curry, Kerry and still me. Yeah, that’s my legacy. That’s who I am. That’s what I bring in the game .
“I can play with anyone, anywhere, anytime, and you know I’ll have it every day. That should be my legacy.”
Chris Hynes covered the NBA for 13 years, with previous stops at Yahoo, ESPN, Comcast Sportsnet Northwest, and Cleveland.com. You can also find him roaming the sidelines on the NBA on TNT broadcasts every week.