Kevin Durant requests trade from Brooklyn Nets hours before NBA free agency opens

Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant has asked for a trade, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.

The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about a player’s trade request. ESPN and The Athletic first reported the news of Durant's request.

This NBA bombshell comes just hours before free agency opens Thursday at 6 p.m. ET and opens more possibilities for a team to make a major move for Durant, which could yield a significant return on assets for Nets.

Phoenix and Miami are two of Durant's preferred destinations, according to Yahoo and ESPN.

The Nets have been in a state of upheaval even since the 2021-22 season began and Kyrie Irving declined to get the COVID-19 vaccine and played in just 29 regular-season games. Brooklyn also sent James Harden to Philadelphia for Ben Simmons at the trade deadline, then was swept by Boston in the first round of the playoffs.

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Kevin Durant

Irving sought sign-and-trade deals before exercising the player option on the final year of his contract for the 2022-23 season. Irving told The Athletic he wanted to honor his commitment to the Nets and Durant, his friend and teammate.

However, Durant, who signed a four-year, $194.2 million contract last year and enters the first season in 2022-23, wants a different opportunity, sending shockwaves through the league.

Durant played nine seasons with Oklahoma City before signing with Golden State in 2016, a move that was widely criticized after the Thunder lost to the Warriors in the Western Conference finals the year prior after being up 3–1 in the series.

With the Warriors, Durant won two consecutive NBA championships and NBA Finals MVPs in 2017 and 2018. He suffered an Achilles injury in the 2019 NBA Finals, which the Warriors lost. Durant went to Brooklyn for the following 2019-20 season via a sign-and-trade.

Follow Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt.