Kevin Durant has had no traction on any of his trades, with more than two and a half weeks now defying his June 30 request for the Nets to clinch a deal in one of his favorite destinations.
The latest update from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski doesn’t provide much new information: the Nets are two-time NBA Finals MVPs, and most teams want a kitchen sink, stove and oven, refrigerator, island and floorboard in any deal. Brooklyn have been reluctant to meet the demand price because doing so could very well remove them from championship contention after acquiring Durant in a trade.
Which means the Nets and Durant could be in stalemate territory: It’s unclear whether Durant will consider canceling his trade request and returning to Brooklyn amicably. If he’s firm on his request out of Brooklyn, that position could drag on at September training camp. Remember: The Rockets dragged James Harden’s trade request into the regular season before Harden made things awkward with media availability. Houston eventually accepted and traded Harden to Brooklyn.
But it paid a heavy price for the Nets: Caris Levert, Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince Harden were included in the deal, as were the rights to every recognizable draft pick until 2026. Rudy Gobert’s trade for Minnesota and DeJonte Murray’s trade for Atlanta reset the trading market. Few if any teams have the resources to make a deal for Durant and still have the pieces to compete for the championship.
“Joe Tsai has an owner in Brooklyn who, in my sense, isn’t interested in taking a reduced business package just to relocate [Kevin Durant] But,” Wojnarowski said on ESPN’s Get Up on Monday. “And I think as long as you have an owner who’s committed to getting the type of business package you want, you can play with it over time, and that’s my understanding in Brooklyn.”
Woz also said that the Miami Heat remain “a very motivated team” in the Durant Sweepstakes, but a deal with Miami remains complicated and will require two additional teams as long as Ben Simmons is on Brooklyn’s roster. However, the Nets cannot acquire Bam Adebayo (or Donovan Mitchell) due to collective bargaining agreement rules on players who sign rookie maximum contract extensions.
Durant’s path to Phoenix, which the Daily News reported was his favorite business destination, is still complicated as the Suns match DeAndre Ayton’s $133M offer sheet, the largest in NBA history. Now that Phoenix has matched Indiana’s offer, Sun cannot trade Ayton until January 15, cannot trade it in Indiana for a year, and cannot trade it anywhere without his consent. .
The Toronto Raptors are unwilling to trade Rookie of the Year Scotty Barnes in a deal for Durant, a nonstarter for Brooklyn.
“There are still other teams out there,” Wojnarowski said. “There is no deal imminent for Brooklyn, but they are still trying to find a trade for Durant.”
Risk, however, comes as the Nets crawl toward training camp, and on Monday, the team announced its four-game, early-October pre-season schedule: October 3 in Brooklyn with James Harden, Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers. against ; October 6 against the Miami Heat in Brooklyn; against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in Milwaukee on October 12; and on October 14 in Minnesota against Carl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves.
Is Durant the type of player who, when met with an unrealistic business request, would pull Ben Simmons? Will Durant do a no-show training camp? Will he stay and put pressure on the Nets front office to move him?
And will the opposing teams undermine their offers if the situation becomes more toxic when all sides return from vacation to kickstart the season in Brooklyn?
The longer the Nets wait to strike a deal, the more likely they are to get off to a bad start to the season if a disgruntled star is in a city they don’t want to represent. Huh.
job not done
The Nets are not ending building their roster, even if Durant has to stay. Brooklyn acquired TJ Warren and Edmund Sumner in free agency and traded Utah’s 2023 first-round pick for three-and-a-half-D wing Royce O’Neill, but the Nets still had their taxpayer mid-tier exceptions. are available.
That mid-tier exception is a maximum of $20M in a three-year deal and can be split among multiple free agents. As it stands, Brooklyn’s biggest remaining need is depth in the center and point guard spots with both Andre Drummond and Goran Dragic going for the Chicago Bulls.