Kevin Durant says his and Kyrie Irving's high-profile NBA trades are "great for the league" after the Brooklyn Nets pair went their separate ways.
The Phoenix Suns prised Durant away from Brooklyn, who also lost fellow star Irving to the Dallas Mavericks after the 30-year-old requested a trade in February.
That saw the Nets lose their only two players to average above 20 points per game this season, although Durant and Irving only shared the court 71 times in the regular season despite joining together in 2019.
Durant has repeatedly lauded the project with the Suns, who sit fifth in the Western Conference, and believes the roster changes are positive for the NBA.
"I don't think it's bad for the league," Durant said Saturday during his All-Star news conference. "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."
??????? ?? ??? ??????. #WeAreTheValley pic.twitter.com/QYt7NywyWS— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) February 16, 2023
Durant expressed his desire to leave shortly after Irving had voiced similar plans, leading to some criticism over the pair's actions with the Nets.
But Irving refused to accept the backlash as he insisted it should be commonplace for such trades to happen, given he was unable to agree a long-term contract extension in Brooklyn.
"It's a bad situation," Irving said Saturday. "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."
Los Angeles, CA @KyrieIrving // #MFFL pic.twitter.com/1Bf49qNs9d
"Teams have been trading players and making acquisitions for a long time," Durant said, echoing Irving's sentiment.
"Now when a player can kind of dictate where he wants to go and leave in free agency and demand a trade, it's just part of the game now.
"So I don't think it's a bad thing. It's bringing more and more excitement to the game."
Irving added: "Speculation and narratives are what make this entertainment kind of seem a little bit more important or more of a priority than it actually is.
"Like, 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."