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NBA stars Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving defend public trade demands: ‘Great for the league’

Former Brooklyn Nets stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving – who prior to the trading deadline were traded to the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks, respectively – defended their decisions to go public with their demands to be traded.

The NBA’s trading deadline brought a flurry of moves, with all but two of the league’s 30 teams making at least one move. It was the progression of a recent trend in the NBA that has seen some of the league’s biggest stars using their public platform to express their desires to be shipped to other teams.

Here’s everything you need to know about the situation:

What Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving said about their trade demands

During a press conference Saturday ahead of the All-Star Game in Salt Lake City, Durant said: “I don’t think it’s bad for the league. 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.”

Said Iving: “It’s a bad situation. Why doesn’t anyone have the ability to ask for trades? That’s my question. 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.”

The Nets traded Kyrie Irving to the Mavericks and Kevin Durant to the Suns this week.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving support player autonomy

Both Durant and Irving stressed the importance of players exercising their autonomy to protect and prioritize their own interests.

“Speculation and narratives is what makes this entertainment kind of seem a little bit more important or more of a priority than it actually is,” Irving added. “It’s my life. It’s not just a dream that everybody can gossip about. When you work as hard as I do or anyone else in a specific profession, I feel like you should have the liberty and the freedom to go where you’re wanted, where you’re celebrated and where you feel comfortable.”

Durant, echoing his previous opinion that he thought the movement was good for the league, said “teams have been trading players and making acquisitions for a long time” and “it’s just part of the game now.”

What NBA commissioner Adam Silver said about public trade demands

Citing a provision in the 2017 collective bargaining agreement that prohibits public trade requests, Silver said the leverage that is revealed in public is “corrosive to the system.” He did, however, acknowledge the value of private conversations between players and teams to come to solutions that work for both sides.

“You want teams to be in a position with smart management where they can rebuild or make smart moves or, frankly, with both teams and players, work themselves out of bad relationships,” Silver said in a press conference Saturday. “You want to find the right balance. You want, obviously, players to honor their contracts, and at the same time a certain amount of player movement is good.”

Source: USA Today