After a flurry of moves at the beginning of free agency, the NBA offseason has been relatively quiet as everyone awaits what the Brooklyn Nets will do with Kevin Durant.
Durant requested a trade just before the start of free agency, but to this point, nothing has come to fruition as the Nets’ asking price remains astronomically high and rightfully so.
Considering no team seems prepared to offer the Nets a historic haul of young players and picks, many started to question whether Durant would remain in Brooklyn alongside Kyrie Irving, who opted into the final year of his contract and is said to be OK with remaining in the organization for at least one more year.
Reports indicated that Durant was set to meet with Nets owner Joe Tsai to talk about his future, and it appears that meeting has taken place. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Durant reiterated that he wants to be traded and gave an ultimatum that it’s either him or general manager Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash:
In a face-to-face meeting with Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai over the weekend, All-NBA star Kevin Durant reiterated his trade request and informed Tsai that he needs to choose between Durant or the pairing of general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash, sources tell The Athletic.
Durant stated he does not have faith in the team’s direction, sources said.
Durant and Tsai spoke in London on Saturday and sources described the discussion as transparent and professional. The meeting took place a year to the day that Durant agreed to a four-year, $198 million contract extension with the Nets and barely over a month after his initial trade request on June 30. He is now entering the first season of that extension.
The Nets have direct knowledge of the reasons behind Durant’s request, sources said, and understand that the 12-time All-Star will continue to be resolute in his stance. Durant is believed to want a change of scenery heading into his 16th season.
As great of a player as Durant is, it’s hard to imagine a businessman like Tsai completely relinquishing control of his team to allow Durant to call the shots.
If Durant does indeed get traded, a handful of Eastern Conference teams are said to remain interested:
The Celtics, Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat remain the most significant candidates to acquire Durant, sources said, with Boston’s package centering around All-Star forward Jaylen Brown seen as a viable deal. Tsai and the Nets have made clear privately that they will take every last asset from a team that trades for Durant, sources said.
While the Los Angeles Lakers do not have the means to acquire Durant themselves, they are heavily invested in the outcome here as they want to trade Russell Westbrook and draft picks for Irving. The only chance Irving would get moved is if Brooklyn trades Durant and enters a rebuild, so the Lakers are waiting to see what happens there before moving on to other options that will improve their roster.
Lakers set ‘soft deadline’ of trading Westbrook by training camp
As training camp draws near, it seems like there will be a resolution on Durant and Irving in the near future.
The Lakers reportedly have set a soft deadline of trading away Westbrook by the start of training camp to avoid awkwardness for all parties.
If that is the case then they still have some time to wait to see what Brooklyn does. But if the Nets do not trade Durant and Irving before training camp then it could be time to move on to other options such as the Indiana Pacers and Utah Jazz.
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