Since leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder as a free agent and signing with the Golden State Warriors in 2016, the perception of Kevin Durant has changed. He is someone that’s legacy is constantly called into question because he joined an already set super team to win the first titles of his NBA career.
While he joined a team that defeated his Thunder in the postseason the year prior, the Warriors aren’t winning those championships without him. He was the best player on the team in both instances, taking home the Finals MVP award in both victories over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Since that second NBA Finals victory, things have gone downhill for Durant. He tore his Achilles in the NBA Finals in 2019 against the Toronto Raptors and hasn’t gotten close to playing in, let alone winning another one.
Durant decided to team up with Kyrie Irving as they signed with the Brooklyn Nets. Durant was sidelined his first season with the team and has appeared in only 87 games in the last two seasons. The Nets have won only one playoff series in that time, defeating the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs before being swept by them this season.
Now, despite signing an extension with the team, Durant is looking to leave. He requested a trade from the Nets with four guaranteed seasons remaining on his contract, which is quite unprecedented in the league.
It is something that has garnered a ton of attention in the basketball world. One person with a strong opinion about it is Shaquille O’Neal, who did not hold back on sharing his opinion about the situation.
“When you put a house together, you should live in it…You, as a leader, should make it work, but you don’t want to make it work, I guess…You know he’s probably trying to get to a contender. It’s easier that way.”
To the surprise of no one, the two teams that were mentioned as being on Durant’s preferred list of landing spots were the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat. The Suns had the best record in the NBA last season, while Miami finished first in the Eastern Conference.
Durant tried something different in 2019 when he joined the Nets, attempting to forge his own path with a team on the rise. Things have not gone as planned and as Shaquille O’Neal pointed out, he is now looking for a way out of the situation and to land with a team that is closer to contending for a championship.
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