7:32 AM ET

Kevin is a member of the Nets.

After a tumultuous summer, and an even rougher start to the season, the star who requested a trade seven months ago enters Friday's game against the New Orleans Pelicans. The best basketball of his career was played by him. He averaged 28.3 points a game in December and shot 42% from the field.

He thinks the league is in a good place as well. Steve Nash's Nets staff had Steve Nash as a consultant, and the coach pointed out the passion and knowledge of the player. He is going to ask if you watched St. Peter's/ St. Francis. The man said, "Clyde said." He's always watching sports. He knows some of the best high school players. He's living it.

The pillar of stability on the Nets has been the 6-9 forward who has been with the team for 16 years. He has vaulted the Nets, who have won 16 of their past 18 games, while pushing himself to the forefront of anotherMVP conversation

KD sat down with Nick Friedell multiple times this season to discuss his trade request over the summer, how the Nets were able to stay together when things could have splintered, and if the league can improve the regular season.

The answers have been edited for clarity and length.

When things could have easily exploded, why did you come back together now?

We were together, no matter what. We understood that it was going to be a lot on us from a media standpoint, so we were tighter once camp started. We were already stuck together before that, so we were able to move in stride. We started to win some games, got better as a team, and did some things that worked for us. It feels like everything was patched together, but it was still cool.

Why were you so confident that you could win a title when you came back?

I don't see it that way. I wanted to know if the process mattered to us. I knew that people here like grinding. That was the most important to me. The way in which you prepare comes with titles. Are we going to practice harder? Do we want to pay more attention to detail? All of us, not just the other way around. Is that going to be a daily thing? I voiced that throughout the summer, and I had faith that it would happen. It's what I like to do. This is how I like to work on my skills. They understood what I value when I said that for the last two years. The preparation side of it was what I hung my hat on.

"Because we consume everything at all times, we're starting to take a lot of stuff for granted. The NBA is one of them." Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant

On a lot of other teams, when a star player asks for a trade, everything around that team seems to fall apart even if that player stays.

You have to know when that happened for them. The middle of the year.

Jimmy began in the summer.

When he was in Minnesota, he was traded. He got traded in the middle of the season from Minnesota and he was sitting out some games. The same thing. The same thing. This was a time of year when it was warm. We didn't play no games. I didn't try to stop us from doing what we were doing. It was not a question of what you were asking my teammates. I felt like the difference in the games was because I didn't get in the way of them. It didn't get in the way of the hoops after we hadhed it out. The difference between what happened with those guys and me was different.

Do you think there is enough focus on free agency?

For real basketball fans, the regular season of the NBA is more enjoyable than the playoffs. Our league is full of people who like basketball, but they don't care for it as much as they might think. There are some people who are real fans of the game and they like to watch it as a hobby.

Everything seems to be doing great right now, when it comes to people and how they consume things. Adding free agency, summer league, regular season is just another way for people to be involved in the game. They want to know where their favorite players are going, or their favorite teams are getting, because they see guys moving. It's important, but the games are more important.

What can the league do to make the season better?

Do you mean to improve?

If you don't think it's an issue, make it so that there's more intensity during regular-season games.

I don't believe there is an issue. The game is in good shape. People have learned how to eat differently. They may not be as fond of a basketball game as they used to be. People take things for granted when things are plentiful. We are a large corporation. We move a lot of things on this earth, as NBA players, as a league, so at this point people are just nit-pickin', because the numbers show the popularity, all of these ratings, and how popular the NBA is because people are interested in all aspects of the From the chatter and popularity of the league, I don't think there's a problem.

On Friday.

Nets-Pelicans, 7:30 p.m.Heat-Suns, 10 p.m.

It's Wednesday.

Bucks-Hawks, 7:30 p.m.Suns-Nuggets, 10 p.m.

It's all times Eastern.

Is there a perception issue in regular-season games that don't get a lot of attention that the average fan doesn't know how hard someone is playing?

The fans have become more deserving. They are questioning our motives for the game or how we approach it. Who are you, the ones that do ask? Shut your eyes and watch the game. We are going as hard as we can. Our bodies allow us to go, so we go as hard as we can.

We're constantly moving around and they only see us when the games start. The playoffs aren't going to be high-intensity. When you're a fan, you're going to have to watch when these guys traveled. The road trip is over. They might have to dig a little deeper to win. Tonight could be a little sloppy. The NBA has a lot of games and the players have to move around a lot. Fans should stop taking us for granted. Athletes should not be put under too much pressure to live up to their expectations. Everybody appreciates what we bring. There are eight games on a night. It's happening every day. You rarely get a day off as a fan from the NBA, so learn to appreciate the grind that we go through and stop expecting us to just perform for you and perform from the standards that you put on each one of us as individuals. I'm not sure what the word I'm looking for is.

What is it that's tense?

It's tense. There was a decrease in the number ofDiluted. The story is narrative-driven. The agenda is based on it. I think it's bias. We're starting to take a lot of stuff for granted because we're consuming so much. One of them is the NBA.

Victor Wembanyama is the projected top pick in the next decade. We will have complete coverage of the June 22nd draft on the internet.

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