The Brooklyn Nets are saying they’re prepared to go into training camp with Kevin Durant. But they don’t want that. It will be a mess. It will be James Harden in Houston, and then Brooklyn, all over again. Ben Simmons in Philly. Paul George in Indiana. Anthony Davis in New Orleans. Kawhi Leonard in San Antonio. Kyrie Irving in Cleveland. When a player asks out in today’s era, they have an almost 100 percent success rate in getting their way, and usually rather promptly.
The reason, of course, the Nets are saying they’re willing to drag this out as long as necessary is they’re trying to generate at least a modicum of leverage as they canvas the league for what should be a historic return for Durant, who, considering his still-apex talent and contract status (whoever trades for Durant will, theoretically, have him locked up for the next four seasons) is arguably the most attractive piece of trade bait to ever hit the NBA waters.
Indeed, nobody is getting Durant for anything short of a massive package. But there are degrees of massive, and it appears that the Nets, as they should at this early juncture of the process, are asking for the world. Consider this bit of insight from Yahoo’s Vincent Goodwill, who recently appeared on Chris Haynes’ “Posted Up” podcast, about a proposal Brooklyn made to the Minnesota Timberwolves:
The Wolves also made several calls to Brooklyn on Kevin Durant, sources said, but the Nets were asking for established All-Stars and a mountain of picks. Minnesota was unwilling to part with either Edwards or Towns in a KD-centered deal, so there was no traction.
The Wolves obviously inquired about Durant before they decided to send four future first-round picks (three unprotected) and another potential pick swap, along with 2022 No. 22 overall selection walker Kessler, plus Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Leandro Bolmaro and Jarred Vanderbilt, to the Utah Jazz for Rudy Gobert. Many have argued this was a ridiculous package to give up for Gobert. I’ll tell you this: The package the Nets wanted for Durant would’ve been a hundred times more ridiculous.
Yeah, Durant is Durant. But the guy is entering his 16th season. You never know when the decline will begin, but rest assured, it will begin. The Wolves would have absolutely zero future beyond Durant. Edwards, gone. Towns, gone. All first-round draft picks for the foreseeable future, gone. And even for the years that Minnesota would’ve had Durant, what chance would Durant have to compete, in an absolutely loaded Western Conference conference to boot, with D’Angelo Russell as his best teammate? Zero.
So yeah, the Nets are going to shoot for the stars with this Durant deal. And they’re probably going to end up landing on the moon. But if this Minnesota rumor is an indication of their expectations at this point, they’re going to have to let go of that pipe dream.