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"This is who I'm playing with?" -- Ben Simmons' group chat incident that might've prompted Kevin Durant's trade request

The moment Ben Simmons showed his true colors, Kevin Durant decided he wants out
Ben Simmons and Kevin Durant on the Nets bench

Ben Simmons and Kevin Durant

As of today, Kevin Durant is still a Brooklyn Net. Depending on Joe Tsai's next move --KD gave him an ultimatum to choose between him or the pairing of Nets GM Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash -- we also might hear that he is rescinding his trade request and is ready to run it back alongside Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons. 

But even if that happens, we still won't know the exact reason why he requested a trade in the first place. However, FOX Sports' NBA analyst Ric Bucher might have the answer to that question.

"This is who I'm playing with"

Those close to KD cite two reasons the 33-year-old wants out of Brooklyn: a controversy-filled season that ended with a first-round sweep to the Celtics; and the organization's rocky relationship with Durant's good friend Kyrie Irving.

Bucher, however, points his finger at Ben Simmons as the one to blame for Durant's trade request. 

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KD joined the Nets to lead his team to championships. With James Harden and Kyrie on the team, he felt like he could do it. But when Harden left, so did Durant's Larry O'Brien hopes, especially after Simmons showed his true colors ahead of what turned out to be the series-decisive game against Boston in the first round of the playoffs.

"They're having a team chat before Game 4, thinking he's going to play against the Celtics. From what I'm told, Ben just left the chat. They asked him, "Are you going to play?". Ben left the chat. Like he didn't even answer the question, just left the chat. KD's like, "This is what I signed up for? This is who I'm playing with?" Bucher said.

What's next?

On paper, the Nets still look like a potential contender -- check out Flash Picks to see their championship odds come next season. Outside of Boston and Golden State, they still might be his best shot at an NBA title. 

However, for Brooklyn to maximize their talent, a lot of things have to fall into place -- Simmons playing his best basketball being one of them. The moment KD requested to be traded, the team's No.1 option gave up hope the 25-year-old would finally take that next step. And on-court struggles had nothing to do with it; it was simply the final nail in the coffin for Simmons' character as a competitor.

This is the same thing scouts were questioning about Ben ahead of the 2016 NBA Draft. Fast forward six years and those questions still stand. The talent is undoubtedly there, but the lack of competitiveness will only get you so far. And if none of his coaches so far have been able to change it, Steve Nash sure won't.

Durant realized it, hence the trade request and yesterday's ultimatum.

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