While the Kevin Durant trade market has cooled down in recent weeks, the superstar has only turned up the heat.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Durant’s desire for change hasn’t gone away, and he recently met with Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai to present him with an ultimatum: Find him a new home … or find new leadership.
In a face-to-face meeting with Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai over the weekend, All-NBA star Kevin Durant reiterated his trade request and informed Tsai that he needs to choose between Durant or the pairing of general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash, sources tell The Athletic.
Durant stated he does not have faith in the team’s direction, sourced said.
News first broke of Durant’s interest in a trade on June 30th. The 2x Finals MVP lit the NBA universe on fire with his request, sending practically every team in the NBA calling to strike a potential deal. However, unsurprisingly, the Nets asking price has remained prohibitively high, which has led to precious few reports of realistic landing spots.
The Boston Celtics were the most recent team to have their interest made public. The reigning Eastern Conference champions have arguably one of the best trade chips in All-Star Jaylen Brown, and Charania mentioned that Boston does remain one of the “most significant candidates” to pull off a trade. The Raptors and Heat were the other franchises named.
However, those names again came tied to a line about the Nets’ expectation to pry nearly every possible asset away in any deal. While possessing that hefty price tag makes plenty of sense for a player of Durant’s caliber, the hesitancy to meet it by another team is also completely understandable. The goal will be to instantly compete over the next couple of years with Durant in town, but how can a franchise realistically expect to do that with such a significantly depleted asset pool? Some teams could end up without a secondary star or high-caliber role players, as well as the resources needed to acquire those kinds of pieces.
What Charania’s latest report tells us, though, is that not finding a trade partner could be ok with Durant … as long as some folks are fired. Durant reportedly wants both GM Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash to get the boot, which certainly comes as a decent surprise when we consider (1) Marks is a relatively well-respected front office leader and (2) Durant has a long relationship with Nash.
Indeed, Durant spent plenty of time with Nash while both were with the Golden State Warriors. Nash held a consultant role for the franchise, and the belief was that their connection built out West is part of the reason why the Hall of Famer was brought to Brooklyn in the first place. Remember: Nash had zero prior coaching experience, so it’s hard to imagine he would have been signed on to lead a potential Finals-contender without the approval of the superstar player on the roster.
The news of Durant’s request also gets weirder when we consider that he stood up for Nash back in April. While I understand that Durant likely isn’t going to bad mouth his coach publically, he sounded truly understanding of the fact that Nash has been “dealt a crazy hand.” Not to mention, it’s just silly to think the situation this team is in would be either Nash’s or Marks’ fault. I guess we don’t know what is said behind the scenes, but it sure felt like this organization did everything it could to cater to Durant the past couple of years. Whether it be signing Deandre Jordan, putting up with Irving, or dumping their future for James Harden, Nash and Marks have seemingly made Durant’s needs their priority.
So I guess the question now is whether or not Joe Tsai will continue to do things Durant’s way or decide to wipe his hands clean. Considering the high ceiling a team with Durant has, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Tsai opt for new leadership, but a trade might also be the only way to retool for the future.