As Kevin Durant waits for a resolution to his trade request from the Brooklyn Nets, the two-time NBA Finals MVP has received support for his decision from a Hall of Famer.
Appearing on SiriusXM NBA Radio with Frank Isola, Scottie Pippen said Durant’s trade request is part of “the game today” because players want to control their destiny, and he added that team owners have done this to players for years:
Rich Kleiman, Durant’s business manager, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on June 30 his client formally requested a trade from the Nets.
Kleiman said Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks is working with Durant’s camp to find a deal.
Durant’s request is part of a trend of player empowerment in the NBA that started more than a decade ago.
As players, especially superstars, have recognized the power they have on and off the court, more of them have taken steps to find the most favorable situations.
The unofficial start of the player empowerment era can be traced back to when LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade teamed up on the Miami Heat in 2010.
Writing for the Plain Dealer, Brian Windhorst noted that year that the trio planted seeds for their partnership in the summer of 2006 while playing for Team USA at the FIBA World Championships.
While James and Bosh were free agents in the summer of 2010, their move seemed to serve as an impetus for other superstars to request a move even if they were under contract.
Anthony Davis, Carmelo Anthony, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul are among the notable players who either requested a trade or forced a move because they were unhappy with an organization.
There has been some blowback to this era of mass player movement. Sports Illustrated‘s Howard Beck wrote in February that teams “can no longer assume roster stability, even if their franchise star is signed for multiple years.”
Durant is a perfect example of this dilemma. He signed a four-year, $194 million extension with Brooklyn last August that doesn’t go into effect until the start of the 2022-23 season.
The Nets couldn’t even get to the first year of that deal before Durant decided he wanted out.
It’s hard to fault him for his decision. Things with the Nets during the 2021-22 season often felt chaotic. Kyrie Irving was only available to play in road games for most of the season because of his decision to not get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Ben Simmons, who the Nets acquired in a midseason trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, didn’t play at all in 2021-22 because of mental health concerns as well as back problems that required surgery in May.
Brooklyn was swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics.