Brooklyn Nets vs. Phoenix Suns Pick & Prediction JANUARY 31st 2024

For 129 regular-season games and 16 more in the postseason, Kevin Durant provided the Brooklyn Nets with some memorable performances on the floor.

Durant also asked for a trade, and for the first time since getting his wish granted, the superstar visits New York on Wednesday night when the Phoenix Suns face the Nets.

Besides the intrigue of how fans react to Durant is whether the Nets will play a video tribute to a player who averaged 29.0 points per game for Brooklyn after being acquired in the summer of 2019. The Nets got two full seasons out of Durant, but he and Kyrie Irving rarely played together and both were traded at last year’s deadline — a year after James Harden sought a trade and was dealt.

It may be those reasons why Durant does not want a tribute video. On Sunday, a social media user conducted a poll asking if Durant should get a tribute video, and Durant weighed in by saying “Please don’t,” then expanded on the topic further Monday.

“I’m not expecting people to praise me or honor me,” Durant told The Arizona Republic. “I didn’t even pose the question. Somebody else brought it up randomly out of nowhere. I just gave them my input on that. I don’t feel like I deserve one. I didn’t feel like I stayed there long enough. I didn’t put in enough work. I didn’t leave a lasting impact.”

Durant played his last game for the Nets on Jan. 8, 2023, when he injured his knee colliding with Miami’s Jimmy Butler. Just over a month later, he was traded to the Suns for Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson and four first-round picks.

Durant has played 48 regular-season games for the Suns so far and is averaging 27.9 points. Phoenix is 13-5 over its past 18 games since falling one game under .500 on Dec. 25 and is coming off a 118-105 win in Miami on Monday.

Durant scored 20 points against the Heat, while Eric Gordon led the team with 23 as Phoenix reserves totaled 48 points on the second night of a back-to-back.

The Nets head into Durant’s return seeking their fourth three-game winning streak of the season after an impressive 147-114 rout of the Utah Jazz on Monday, two nights after they nearly blew a 28-point lead in a 106-104 win over the Houston Rockets.

Ben Simmons returned for Monday’s contest after missing 38 games due to a back injury, and the Nets improved to 28-21 all-time when he plays. Simmons played 18 minutes off the bench and finished with 10 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, and the Nets were a plus-27 with him on the floor.

Bridges led eight players in double-figure scoring with 33 points, and Cam Thomas added 25 in a game where the Nets produced 41 assists and hit 21 3-pointers.

“Once he said he was ready to go, I had no qualms that he was going to be able to push the pace for us and get back to the high-energy, high-octane pace that he’s played with this group,” Brooklyn coach Jacque Vaughn said of Simmons. “You see how he just impacts other people. He makes other dudes better, and he likes doing that.”

–Field Level Media

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