As free agency opened a week ago, Kevin Durant sent shockwaves around the NBA by requesting a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. The expectation is that if Durant is traded, Kyrie Irving will be as well, and this bizarre and fascinating Nets era will end without even an Eastern Conference finals appearance.
Of course, trading Durant is much easier said than done. The Nets understandably want a huge return for one of the game’s best players, and Durant wants to go somewhere he can team up with other stars and compete for a title. There are very few teams, however, that could deliver the requisite package and still maintain enough talent to entice Durant. This may have to be at least a three-team trade in the end, but those are even more complicated to pull off.
All of which is to say it doesn’t seem like this situation is getting sorted out anytime soon. So what is Durant thinking as his future hangs in the balance? Well, it’s impossible to say. The superstar has stopped responding to calls and texts, according to Chris Haynes on his Posted Up podcast.
“Since he requested a trade, there’s been numerous stars that I’ve spoken to, numerous stars that have been trying to get in touch with him to pick his brain to see if he would consider other avenues, just want to get a sense of what he’s thinking — KD’s going dark. He’s not talking to anybody. Not answering anybody’s phone calls, not responding to texts. The only time you see him get out into the sunlight is when he responds on Twitter, and he’s not saying anything much on there.”
Durant signed a four-year, $194 million extension with the Nets last summer — a decision he may now regret. The deal kicks in next season, and will run through 2026. With Durant under contract for the long term, the Nets do not have the pressure to rush a deal through, and are reportedly willing to wait as long as it takes to get their required asking price.
This entire situation is already fascinating, and will only grow more so if it drags on throughout the summer and into training camp. Even compared to other players in the league, Durant absolutely loves playing basketball. It’s hard to imagine him sitting out or not giving it his all in order to force the Nets hand, as James Harden did last season. And if Durant is still in Brooklyn when camp rolls around, will Irving be there as well?
None of that even gets to other free agency business that is being held up by the Durant saga. How long would this have to go one before some team eventually stops waiting and makes an offer to, among others, Deandre Ayton? There are so many moving parts here, all of which could change the course of the league for the foreseeable future.