Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving Defend Trade Requests


During their All-Star Weekend press conferences, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both responded to critics who say trade demands are bad for the NBA, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

Durant and Irving were Nets teammates when February began, but the demands they issued a few days apart shook up the league in advance of the trade deadline. Irving was shipped to the Mavericks and Durant was sent to the Suns in separate deals that reshaped the Western Conference playoff race.

Although it reduces stability when so many star players ask to be moved, Durant believes the fan interest that the trades spark is ultimately positive.

“I don’t think it’s bad for the league,” he said. “It’s bringing more eyes to the league; more people are more excited. The tweets that I get; the news hits that we got from me being traded, Kyrie being traded; it just brings more attention to the league and that’s really what rakes the money in, when you get more attention. So, I think it’s great for the league, to be honest.”

Durant also asked for a trade last summer, but he rescinded that request before training camp as Brooklyn wasn’t able to find an acceptable offer. Irving explored leaving as well last June, but decided to pick up his player option and stay with the Nets when he found a shortage of teams willing to deal for him at his current salary.

Irving explained Saturday that he and Durant were just making the best moves for their careers.

“Why doesn’t anyone have the ability to ask for trades? That’s my question,” Irving said. “When did it become terrible to make great business decisions for yourself and your happiness and peace of mind? Not every employer you’re going to get along with, so if you have the chance to go somewhere else and you’re doing it legally, I don’t think there’s a problem with it.”

McMenamin points out that a long list of NBA stars have requested trades in recent years, including Jimmy Butler, Anthony Davis, Paul George, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Durant sees that trend as one of the positive outcomes of player empowerment.

“Teams have been trading players and making acquisitions for a long time,” he said. “Now when a player can kind of dictate where he wants to go and leave in free agency and demand a trade, it’s just part of the game now. So I don’t think it’s a bad thing. It’s bringing more and more excitement to the game.”