Kevin Durant told ESPN that Kyrie Irving wanting out of Cleveland and away from LeBron James is “just a regular NBA problem, right? A lot of teams have gone through this before.” Durant made the comments in his hometown of Seat Pleasant, Md., which staged a Durant celebration day. Durant said trade requests are routinely made without the news coming to light. But the Irving/LeBron rift did become known. “It’s not the end of the world,” Durant said. “Both of those guys won a championship together. They love each other. If Kyrie wants to do something else, that’s on him. I’m sure whatever happens, it’ll work out for the best for both of them. But it’s just a normal NBA problem. It’s just two big stars that it’s happening to.” It’s happened before, of course. Durant left the Thunder for Golden State in summer 2016, and soon thereafter leaks developed that indicated a rift between Durant and Russell Westbrook. Whether that’s the reason Durant chose to leave OKC or the reason Durant’s camp used to explain his departure, who knows? But for years, there were occasional reports that Durant and Westbrook weren’t the bosom buddies portrayed by the Thunder, and after Durant became a Warrior, there were rumblings within the league that Westbrook was the reason Durant left. It’s quite likely that Durant, at age 28, just wanted to try something new. And playing with someone other than Westbrook most certainly was new. Either way, the Durant departure and the Irving trade request shows that some of the traditional factors we have long assumed appeal to players have changed. More and more, players are wanting to play with certain other players, not leaving it to general managers or the providence of the draft to decide their ultimate destination.