Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said he would not try to “speculate” about the mindset of star forward Kevin Durant after Brooklyn traded away co-star Kyrie Irving to the Mavericks over the weekend.
Irving, who requested a trade from the Nets last Friday, was sent to Dallas alongside Markieff Morris in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and three draft picks, including an unprotected first-rounder in 2029. The deal ends a tumultuous run in Brooklyn for the eight-time All-Star, much of which was spent alongside Durant.
Given that his running mate is no longer with the team, Durant has emerged as a player that teams, including the Suns, are prepared to pursue “should he become available,” ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline, according to a report from Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report. When asked if remaining with the Nets was something Durant desired, Vaughn sidestepped the question.
“I’m not going to speculate and get in Kevin’s mind at all,” the Nets interim coach said Monday night, per SNY. “Not going to try to do that. I’m going to coach this group [and] look forward to coaching them.”
Vaughn continued, admitting that he’s well-aware of Durant’s primary focus on any team, including the Nets: to win.
“At the end of the day, Kevin wants to win. That’s always been our goal,” Vaughn explained, via SNY. “He wants to win at shootaround. He wants to win any game of the week. That’s why he loves to play. That’s why he wants to play 82 games. That will be our holy grail.
“We’ll continue to try to put a group out that wins. Until there’s something for me to be concerned about, then I’ll carry on business as usual.”
Brooklyn has managed to win quite a bit this season, amassing a 32–21 record ahead of the All-Star break, which has landed them at fourth in the Eastern Conference. However, given that Durant asked the Nets for a trade last summer and Irving is now elsewhere, rumors will surely swirl about his availability until Thursday’s trade deadline or into the summer if the 13-time All-Star remains in Brooklyn.