4 NBA stars who demanded a trade that didn’t happen

Kobe Bryant, NBA (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant, NBA (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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NBA Star #3: Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant’s trade request in 2022 was nothing short of a complete mess. In late June, Durant requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. This came after a disappointing sweep by the Boston Celtics in the playoffs.

The request was remarkable for several reasons. First, Kevin Durant was under contract and had an extension with the Nets that had yet to even begin. Second, this Nets team was largely put together by him and fellow star Kyrie Irving. Durant wasn’t happy in a situation in which he had the least major influence. He had made his own bed and now didn’t want to sleep in it.

Things came to a head in August when Durant met with Nets owner Joe Tsai. Durant not only reiterated his request but gave an ultimatum: Tsai could either keep him or fire head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks.

Despite Durant’s insistence, a deal never materialized. Leading to another meeting with Tsai along with Clara Wu Tsai, Nash, Marks, and Rich Kleiman, Durant’s business manager. Resulting in Durant officially rescinding the request only a few weeks after the initial meeting with Tsai.

The irony of all of this was that only a few short months later, Durant and Kleiman would once again request a trade, this time specifying the Phoenix Suns as his preferred destination, where he would eventually end up. The second request was more understandable, though. Kyrie Irving had just been traded to the Dallas Mavericks after he and Brooklyn could not agree on a contract extension. It was clear the Nets were tearing things down.

Durant’s initial request is one of the few situations where it looked like the team was going to be able to stay together. Somehow, whatever issues he had were mended, and up until the second request, he was playing outstanding basketball. But as far as history is concerned, it was basically a request received in the summer and fulfilled the next winter.