The blockbuster trade officially marks the end of the Nets' superstar experiment centered on Irving, Durant and James Harden. Brooklyn dealt Irving to Dallas this past Sunday, ending the star guard's turbulent 3½ seasons with the Nets while also setting the stage for Durant's final days with the franchise.
"I'm just praying for [Durant's] happiness, praying for his well-being," Irving said after leading the Mavericks to a victory over the Clippers in his debut with his new team. "We had a lot of conversations throughout the year of what our futures were going to look like.
"There was still a level of uncertainty, but we just cared about seeing each other be places that we can thrive -- whether that be together, whether that be apart."
In a deal that landed in the late-night hours ahead of the 3 p.m. ET trade deadline Thursday, Durant and T.J. Warren were shuttled to the Suns for Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder and four unprotected future first-round picks, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Durant and his business manager, Rich Kleiman, told Nets owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks earlier this week that their preference was a trade to Phoenix, sources told Wojnarowski.
"This business changes so quickly," Irving said. "He's getting a little bit older. I'm getting a little bit older. I just love the competition now that we can be in the same conference, and I welcome all that. Get to see him a little bit more, probably playing against Phoenix a lot more, and that's what I'm looking forward to. Everything else in between -- I'm just glad that he got out of there."
Initially hailed as the core of a superteam that would contend for multiple NBA championships, the trio of Irving, Durant and Harden played just 16 games together in Brooklyn. The Nets began dismantling that group last February when they traded Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers.
"We had James, and we were supposed to be this superteam," Irving said. "I think I would like to say something about the superteam of me, James and KD that everyone thinks should have worked. We played very limited time together, and there were a lot of injuries that took place. I would have liked to see that work for the long term, but there are no mistakes and no coincidences and you gotta move forward.
"I am happy I can look back on that journey and reflect that I learned a lot of things for those guys and my teammates in Brooklyn and just my journey throughout."