The Nets did everything to contend. They managed to assemble a big three of James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving, but it didn’t work. A year after The Beard’s departure, Brooklyn’s original plan proved to be a failure as Kyrie and KD also left.
The Nets’ collapse wasn’t exactly a surprise, but the timing was. Instead of playing out the remainder of the season and see how far they could go in the playoffs, Irving forced his way out just days before the deadline.
With Kyrie leaving for the Dallas Mavericks, Durant had nothing left to do in Brooklyn. He managed to land in the Phoenix Suns, but before he could completely switch his attention to his new team, KD addressed the ending to the Nets’ chapter.
Kevin Durant breaks silence on Kyrie Irving’s trade request
"It was a blow to our team," Durant said, via CBS Sports. "It just took away our identity. He was a huge, huge part to what we do. His game -- he's a Hall of Fame player, a great, great player that can do everything on the floor, and we relied on that. So without him, we didn't have a clear identity. So that was tough for me to stomach.”
The Nets’ breakup came when the team was doing just fine in the season, with Irving performing at a high level for an extended period. Therefore, Durant looked sad that things had to be over now.
"Yeah, I was upset that we couldn't finish," Durant added. "I thought we would've had some good momentum. We were finally building the culture that we always wanted. I felt like every game we were building our chemistry. But I didn't know what was going on with Kyrie and his situation with the organization, so I didn't really focus on that. I only focused on what we were doing on the court."
Durant made it clear he left because Irving was walking away, explaining that he appreciated everyone at the Nets’ locker room and the way they worked. However, now it’s time to move on and he looks excited about chasing a championship in Phoenix.