Monday, August 15, 2022

Nets haven’t given up hope on Kevin Durant retracting trade request, per report

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When Kevin Durant asked for a trade during June, he likely expected to get one relatively quickly. The Nets appeared willing to cooperate with his request after a tumultuous season that they do not appear interested in repeating. A player of his caliber should have commanded a number of enormous offers for Brooklyn to sift through before ultimately settling on the best one. 

But a month after the request, no such offer has materialized. Durant’s preferred Phoenix Suns likely don’t have enough to land him now that DeAndre Ayton is off of the table until January by virtue of the offer sheet he has already signed. The Miami Heat are similarly light on assets, and while the Boston Celtics have emerged with a surprising offer built around Jaylen Brown, the two sides have not yet come close to a deal. Unless something changes between now and training camp, those offers are unlikely to improve.

But according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Nets have not given up hope on an alternative: that Durant will retract his trade request knowing that there isn’t a viable move available to him. It is not known at this stage whether or not Durant might consider that option, but according to Marc Stein, he is still seeking a trade out of Brooklyn. Perhaps another month or two without a trade could change his mind.

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If Durant does return to Brooklyn, he’d be playing for a fairly strong team. The Nets still have Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons. Joe Harris and Seth Curry will presumably be healthier. Nic Claxton and Patty Mills were re-signed, and the Nets took a high-risk, high-reward gamble on TJ Warren that could give them another starting-caliber player on the wing. It is entirely reasonable to suggest that the Nets could be stronger than some of the teams trying to trade for Durant should he decide to remain in Brooklyn.

But until he makes his intentions clear, there’s just no telling how viable this path is. If Durant tells the Nets tomorrow that he refuses to play in Brooklyn, that might lower their asking price a bit. If there is no deal by training camp and he arrives, that might give them some leeway to try to keep him. There’s still a long way to go before this situation gets resolved either way.

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