It has been several weeks since Kevin Durant first requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, but there has been little movement on that front thus far. His preferred destination, the Phoenix Suns, is now effectively out of the running as DeAndre Ayton, one of their primary assets, cannot be traded until January after signing a new contract. The Miami Heat, another team Durant is reportedly interested in, is struggling with the restriction that forbids teams from acquiring multiple players on designated rookie contracts, as both Bam Adebayo and Ben Simmons fit that criteria. No sleeper team has yet produced an acceptable offer.
So for the time being, the Nets and Durant appear to be stuck in a holding pattern, and according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the former MVP isn’t helping matters. His communication with the Nets and others around the league remains “sparse,” according to Windhorst, so until Durant makes it known how willing or unwilling he is to remain in Brooklyn, the only thing that could spur a deal would be an increased offer.
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Without knowing where Durant stands, hesitance is understandable. If he made it clear to certain teams that he would want to play for them, their offers could theoretically improve. Given his histories in Golden State and Brooklyn, teams would likely be unwilling to part with significant assets without being sure that he was interested in coming. He might need to do so to force a trade because with four years left on his contract, he can’t wield the threat of free agency as an escape valve. The Nets hold meaningful leverage here as well.
Windhorst noted that the Nets are “not aggressively making outgoing calls,” which puts the ball in Durant’s court. They do not seem especially eager to make a bad trade. Teams can either organically increase what they are offering, or Durant can give those teams reason to believe that they should. If neither occurs, there appears to be a real chance that Durant starts next season in Brooklyn.