Had it not been for the Los Angeles Lakers, the 2021-22 Brooklyn Nets would have likely been the most disappointing team of the year. While they may not have beat out Los Angeles for that title, the team undoubtedly underachieved, and things have only gotten worse. With Kevin Durant requesting a trade, what projected to be a dominant several years for the Nets may have peaked with a second-round exit.
Eliminated by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2021 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, and swept by the Boston Celtics just last postseason, Brooklyn has been far from the dominant powerhouse many anticipated. With a player of Durant’s caliber, there is always a sense that whatever team he’s on has a chance to win. Perhaps more surprising than Brooklyn’s first-round sweep, was Durant’s lack of confidence in their chances to advance.
KD knew the Nets were done
On a recent podcast episode, former Brooklyn Nets guard Mike James revealed a shocking phone call where Kevin Durant predicted Brooklyn’s season would not end in a deep playoff run.
“When I went back overseas it was just like, alright whoever’s season ends first [between James and Durant], the other one gonna come to watch the playoffs,” James said. “When I first said it, I thought alright you’re gonna be in the Finals, I get to go to the Finals, that’s lit. So when they was trash and they was losing, I called him one day and was like, ‘Alright, you know what this means, right? You’re gonna come to my playoff game.’ He was like, ‘There’s no way I’m coming to your playoff game.'”
While James was the first to recognize Brooklyn’s fate between he and Durant, the former Nets guard revealed that Durant quickly caught on.
“Like a week later [Durant] called me before the playoffs started, and he’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna be there in like a couple weeks, we finna lose,'” James said.
Mike James adds context
Upon first listen, this story from Mike James creates a really bad look for Kevin Durant, who seemingly had no confidence in his team entering the playoffs. Following the expected reaction from Brooklyn’s fanbase and fans across the league, James hopped on Twitter to offer some additional context.
Attempting to say that Durant’s lack of confidence stemmed from his team’s injury concerns, including his own injury, James refuted the idea that Durant simply quit on Brooklyn. James also shared a Tweet that revealed another conversation with Durant, where the superstar forward expressed more confidence in the direction of his team. That said, regardless of Durant’s fluctuating state of mind, he at one point predicted the very outcome Brooklyn suffered.
While it certainly does not tell the whole story, which includes Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Steve Nash, and other factors, Durant’s lack of confidence in the Brooklyn Nets can begin explaining his trade request. The two-time Finals MVP wants to win, and no longer feels that can happen in Brooklyn.