NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets plan to stay together after all, even after the All-Star forward asked to be traded earlier this summer.
The Nets said Tuesday that the team’s leadership met a day earlier with Durant and business partner Rich Kleiman in Los Angeles and “agreed to move forward with our partnership,” general manager Sean Marks said in a statement.
“We are focusing on basketball, with one collective goal in mind: build a lasting franchise to bring a championship to Brooklyn,” Marks added.
That is certainly more likely by keeping Durant, who remains one of the best scorers in the NBA. He is set to begin a four-year extension he signed last summer, and the possibility of him being traded had been the biggest story in the NBA this summer.
It’s unknown exactly why he sought a trade, which came at the end of a turbulent year in Brooklyn. A championship favorite before last season began, the Nets barely made the playoffs and then were bounced by Boston in four games in the first round.
The Nets then refused to give a contract extension to Kyrie Irving, Durant’s close friend, forcing him to pick up his option for next season, the final year of his deal.
The uncertainty around Durant’s future in Brooklyn likely contributed to the Nets being left off the five-game Christmas lineup and being scheduled to appear only eight times on ABC and ESPN.
But with Durant, the Nets can still be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. He averaged a franchise-record 29.9 points last season, and the Nets were bidding for the top spot in the East before he suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for 21 games.