Kyrie Irving recently told Shams Charania of The Athletic that he believes that Kevin Durant’s trade request over the summer will help the Brooklyn Nets become a better team.

He also called his close friend “one of the greatest to ever do it,” while adding that he thinks Durant “not only in me but himself.”

“When Kev made that request, I feel like we got better,” Irving told Charania per Stadium. “Afterwards. Not initially, but now where we are now, I feel like we can honestly say we got better with the principles that are needed for success. Without going through some test in the summertime or during the season, we wouldn’t be able to be as close and bonded as we are now.”

Part 2 of Kyrie Irving on @Stadium: “I’m going for every piece of hardware that I could possibly get out of the NBA.” On the Nets post-KD trade request, his team bonding event, admitting “I don’t think it was my time to ask for a trade” with Cavs, Uncle Drew, meaning of A11Even.

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 19, 2022

KD and Kai have played just 44 games together since they first joined forces together in Brooklyn during the 2019 offseason. The All-Star duo have been unavailable due to injuries, load management, and Irving’s decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Irving also touched on the importance of organizing team outings and ensuring everyone spends time with each other during the season.

“It makes a big difference when you spend time with your coworkers when you spend time with your teammates, and you spend time with those that are going to be along the journey,” Irving said. “It’s a long f—ing journey, man.”

Building chemistry on and off the court will help the Nets integrate new players like Ben Simmons and Royce O’Neale.

Irving also told Charania about some of his career regrets, including how “the NBA business” is conducted. Irving specifically pointed out how things went down when he requested a trade out of Cleaveland following their second Finals loss to the Warriors in 2017, “there were a lot of things that happened in the business that I didn’t understand.”

“When I asked for a trade from Cleveland, the one thing that I look back on is: Did I exhaust as many opportunities to get closer to guys when I felt some type of difference? There was a lot of things that happened in the business that I didn’t understand,” he said. “Asking for a trade — I don’t think it was my time to ask for a trade. And especially to go to Boston, who was No. 2 or No. 1 in our conference; it’s just right down the street. I’m grateful that I had my time there because it was one of the most historical franchises that, again, I did not know the power of our industry.

“When I reflect on it, at 30 years old I can say I understand the business better, I understand the way that roles work, and if anybody can sit here honestly and say they messed up, it was me. Because if I’m saying that it is family-run and relationship-run, then while I was in these situations, I didn’t handle all of those relationships as I would have wanted.”

Nets’ Kyrie Irving sits down with @Stadium: “I got a chance to catch my son, this was the second time we did natural home birth. I was the doula. My wife is a warrior.” Also: Relationship with dad and beliefs, mental health, opt-in, revealing severity of ’21 ankle injury, more.

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 18, 2022

The Nets open the season against the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday.

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