NBA

Nets GM Sean Marks calls trading Kevin Durant 'the best path forward'

By Sports Desk February 09, 2023

On January 8, the Brooklyn Nets appeared to have finally found their stride as championship contenders, with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving leading the team to 18 wins in a 20-game span.

A month later, the Nets are now starless and retooling around a collection of young players.

Nets general manager Sean Marks issued a statement Thursday night addressing the franchise-altering decision to trade Kevin Durant, less than 24 hours after dealing him to the Phoenix Suns for Mikal Bridges, Cam Thomas and four first-round picks.

"After thorough evaluation of the best path forward, we believe making this trade now positions the franchise for long-term success," Marks said. "Mikal and Cam are elite, ascending, versatile wings, plus the draft capital provides us additional avenues to continue to acquire talent. We remain steadfast in our commitment to building the team Brooklyn deserves.

"We are excited to welcome Mikal, Cam and their families to Brooklyn and thank Kevin for the moments and memories he delivered our fanbase."

The move ends a brief whirlwind of an era for Brooklyn that began with acquiring Durant and Irving during the 2019 offseason.

Despite great expectations and countless storylines – including the acquisition and departure of James Harden, the firing of coach Steve Nash and multiple trade requests – Durant and Irving won a total of seven playoff games together with the Nets, never advancing past the second round.

Irving was traded to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and a variety of draft picks.

Late Wednesday night, reports surfaced of the blockbuster deal that sent Durant to Phoenix, one of his preferred destinations included in his trade request before the start of the 2022-23 season.

Durant joins Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton on a Suns team that is sure to be one of the favourites to win the Western Conference.

"This gives Kevin an opportunity to go in and continue on that quest for a championship in Phoenix as their window opens up," Marks told reporters ahead of the Nets’ game against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday.

"My goal here, and our goal from ownership all the way down, is to put something out on the floor that everybody can be proud of, you can see consistent effort, you can see availability, and you can see competitive spirit."

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