It seemed to validate his reputation in the minds of many as a player who always takes the easy way out and leaves his current team at the first signs of trouble while looking to form a superteam elsewhere.
Luckily for Brooklyn, it looks like Durant has recommitted himself to the team, as general manager Sean Marks implied in a statement he released a few days ago.
In a statement from Nets GM Sean Marks: "We are focusing on basketball, with one collective goal in mind: build a lasting franchise to bring a championship to Brooklyn."
After June 30 trade request, Kevin Durant will stay with the Nets. https://t.co/V0rd8fSQLr
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 23, 2022
Although many were relieved to put the Durant trade saga in the rearview mirror, others haven’t been able or willing to forgive him for wanting to leave a team that still has tremendous potential.
One of those in the latter category is NBA Hall of Famer and TNT personality Charles Barkley.
In fact, Barkley had some very harsh words for the two-time NBA Finals MVP.
"I call him Mr. Miserable, he's never going to be happy."
— 98.7 Arizona Sports (@AZSports) August 25, 2022
“He (KD) piggybacked on the [Golden State] Warriors to win his first 2-championships, but if you go back and look at his career, as the best player and being the leader that all goes with that, he’s been an abject failure,” said Barkley.
In fact, Barkley said that Durant “seems like a miserable man” because he has been given “everything on a silver platter,” yet he keeps leaving very good or great teams in order to seek greener pastures.
Does Durant Really Not Deserve Any Credit?
At this point, Durant has a complicated legacy.
There was a time several years ago when he was regarded as a class act, especially when he won the 2014 regular season MVP and gave an acceptance speech that was well-received by the public.
"You the real MVP."
On This Date: In 2014, Kevin Durant's iconic MVP speech brought the room to tears 🙏 pic.twitter.com/zkVeKKOhrV
— ESPN (@espn) May 6, 2019
But when he left the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Warriors in 2016, it left a very bad taste in the mouths of many basketball fans.
The Warriors had just won an NBA-record 73 games, and in fact, they had just overcome a 3-1 series deficit in the Western Conference Finals versus Durant’s Thunder.
Most felt it was an incredibly weak move and that Durant wasn’t willing to compete or take on any type of a challenge in order to win it all.
On the other hand, the Warriors likely needed him to win the championship in 2017 and 2018.
In 2017, they went up against the same Cleveland Cavaliers team that had beaten them in the NBA Finals the year before, and in fact, Cleveland had a strong bench than it did in 2016.
The following year, Golden State fell behind 3-2 in the West Finals to the Houston Rockets, and were it not for his 34 points in Game 7, the Rockets may have won their first world championship in over 20 years.
Since coming to the Nets in 2019, Durant has played on a team that has had great expectations but has won only one playoff series to date.
His reasons for wanting to be traded still seem at least somewhat mysterious, as the Nets have a very intriguing and dangerous team.
With Ben Simmons‘ all-around abilities and role players such as T.J. Warren, Patty Mills, Joe Harris and Nic Claxton, not to mention Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn should have a shot at winning the NBA title.
If they do so, perhaps Durant’s reputation and legacy will change for the better.