Kevin Durant’s commerce request has been caught in limbo from the second he requested out from the Brooklyn Nets. Durant’s request coincided with the beginning of free company on June 30, however at this level each significant free agent save for Collin Sexton is off the board whereas Durant lingers on Brooklyn’s roster.
There has by no means actually been any constructive momentum constructing in the direction of a Durant deal, however which will doubtlessly begin to change after two updates on Monday. First, Durant met with Nets proprietor Joe Tsai in London and reaffirmed his commerce request, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. That is massive contemplating the probably end result in current weeks has felt like Durant returning to Brooklyn as he begins a brand new four-year, $198 million contract extension. Per Charania, Durant informed Tsai it’s him or Brooklyn’s braintrust of prime exec Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash.
The following massive piece of stories got here hours later, when Tsai determined to publicly touch upon the report. Durant gave the group an ultimatum, and now Tsai has picked his facet.
Our entrance workplace and training workers have my assist. We’ll make selections in the most effective curiosity of the Brooklyn Nets.
— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) August 8, 2022
Joe Tsai broke the golden rule: by no means tweet. In doing so, he might have simply misplaced leverage for the Nets in commerce talks and made life quite a bit tougher for the folks he was attempting to again.
Finishing a Durant commerce was by no means going to be straightforward for quite a lot of apparent causes. Durant can be 34 years previous this season. He tore his Achilles in 2019 and has solely performed 90 video games over the 2 seasons as he’s battled different accidents. The truth that he’s locked up for 4 years ought to make him extra attractive to different groups, however he’s additionally owed the league’s fourth largest wage. The Timberwolves’ commerce for Rudy Gobert — the place they dealt three unprotected first rounders, one top-five protected decide, and rookie first rounder Walker Kessler — additionally made a KD deal even tougher. The Nets can’t presumably settle for much less for Durant than the Jazz bought for Gobert … however within the close to future, they may not have a selection.
Loads of famous person commerce requests have fallen via in years previous, from Kobe Bryant to Scottie Pippen to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. May Durant nonetheless return to Brooklyn and end the season there? It’s doable, however it doesn’t really feel seemingly after every thing that occurred on Monday.
When Anthony Davis needed out of New Orleans, he bought his want. When James Harden needed out of Houston, he bought his want. Heck, even Ben Simmons bought his want after sitting out half the yr. Sure, Durant is beneath contract for the following 4 years with Brooklyn, however that shouldn’t kill the leverage for a top-15 participant of all-time.
Are the Nets actually going to maintain an sad Durant in tow for the following 4 years? Will Steve Nash — a particularly wealthy 48-year-old — actually need to coach an sad Durant? Kyrie Irving is on a one-year contract, and the Nets are largely on this mess as a result of they refused to provide him a long-term deal. The Nets’ lone hope is that each superstars return, and the crew is nice sufficient is need to stick collectively. In fact, that additionally solely occurs if Irving’s market elsewhere stays small, Durant’s loyalty to Irving stays sturdy, and Simmons and Joe Harris every return to type coming off again and ankle surgical procedures, respectively.
If you do not forget that Brooklyn was the preseason favourite getting into final yr and couldn’t even win a single playoff sport, it makes the optimistic state of affairs even arduous to ascertain.
Whether or not he’s traded earlier than coaching camp, or halfway via the season like Harden and Simmons, it simply doesn’t really feel just like the Nets are working from a place of power after their proprietor publicly selected a facet following Durant’s ultimatum. The Nets will get first rate affords for KD, however none of them would be the ‘biggest commerce haul ever’ like many suspected when Durant first requested out.
We all know Durant needed to play for the Phoenix Suns alongside Devin Booker, however that doesn’t appear real looking anymore after Deandre Ayton signed. Charania reported three groups as the principle suitors: the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, and Miami Warmth.
Boston provided Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, and a decide. Brooklyn reportedly desires Marcus Sensible, and doubtless extra picks. Toronto has refused to place Scottie Barnes on the desk, and sure begins its commerce supply with OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. (it wouldn’t shock me if Pascal Siakam’s title ultimately comes up, too). The Warmth can solely supply Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson, which simply isn’t ok.
We got here up with another commerce packages for Durant final month. Each crew must be calling Brooklyn proper now. You simply may get one of many biggest gamers ever locked down for 4 years.
The Nets don’t personal any of their very own future draft picks as a result of they traded all of them to Houston for Harden. Ben Simmons — their massive return for buying and selling Harden to Philly in Feb. — is getting back from a severe again surgical procedure and hasn’t performed in any respect since his humiliating second spherical collection within the 2021 playoffs. Irving is the league’s final wild card even when he has all the inducement on the planet to have a giant yr. Even when the Nets do drive KD to return again subsequent season, it’s arduous to see how Brooklyn can deal with Boston and Milwaukee, and they’ll seemingly have bother with Philadelphia, Miami, and presumably Toronto, Chicago, and Cleveland, too.
Joe Tsai picked his facet. He’s backing Marks. If Durant is actually as dug in as he reported to be, there’s no straightforward approach out of this case for the Nets.