On ESPN and elsewhere, the Nets situation is increasingly seen as something that won’t be resolved anytime soon and indeed the waiting game may be the Nets plan: to hold things off in hopes of getting Kevin Durant to change his mind about Brooklyn.
In discussions, particularly on ESPN’s Get Up, pundits suggested that the Nets strategy appears to be ask a king’s ransom for KD, wait for the sticker shock, then sit back and see if there is a market. And if not, hope for the best ... at least with Durant.
“This could take a long time and the hope is, inside that organization, is that the longer it takes, Kevin pulls back a little bit and says ‘I really do like it here,” said Nick Friedell, who covered the Nets for ESPN this season. “‘I like the team that is around me. Maybe Ben Simmons is going to get healthy.’”
Brian Windhorst agreed but noted that the Nets are facing some questions of their own when they ask for big packages, like Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards and four firsts from Minnesota, their reported demand to the Timberwolves.
“As I talk to teams, the four years on his contract is not necessarily viewed as an asset. If he was 24 instead of 34, I think we’d be looking at differently,” said Windhorst. Durant, in fact, will make $49.8 million in year three of his deal when he’s 36 and $53.3 million in the final year of the extension he signed last year. He’ll be 37 then.
Windhorst also said he believes the Nets supposed strategy is a bit of “posturing.”
“I got to tell you in talking to league executives out there, they don’t believe that’s really going to happen,” said Windhorst. “They believe that’s Nets’ posturing at this point. At this point, unless Kevin Durant gives some sort of indication that he’s on board with it, it’s not effecting the offers yet. We are in the second week of July. There are two and a half months till the season.”
Indeed, the market could shrink as early as Monday afternoon with a Windhorst report that the Suns may ship DeAndre Ayton to the Pacers in a sign-and-trade centered on Myles Turner.
“We believe that the Indiana Pacers are very close to giving DeAndre Ayton an offer sheet or executing a sign-and-trade,” said Windhorst. “The Pacers had to do some business over the weekend, to complete the Malcolm Brodgon trade. That is now on the verge of happening and that is opening enough cap space to almost give DeAndre Ayton the max contract he is looking for. We could something with the Pacers as early as today.
“The whole league is waiting to see the next big domino to move.”
That would make any kind of deal with Phoenix, one of Durant’s preferred destinations, more difficult and at the same time virtually eliminate Indiana as a third team in any deal. Ayton’s new contract would eliminate a lot of the Pacers cap space.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t talks. There are, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweeted Monday afternoon.
Andy and Sean were chatting at their hotel. Heat determined to exhaust all options to acquire Durant before pursuing anything else significant. Donovan Mitchell obviously looms as an option, though he hasn't requested trade and Jazz isn't shopping him. https://t.co/vq4eNmtUL7— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) July 11, 2022
In fact, a fan got this pic of Marks and Elisburg at Resorts World, Las Vegas...
Btw I’m in Vegas now and here’s the proof there was a breakfast mtg. Resorts world. Mtg was at least 1.5 hours because when I checked out they were still chatting pic.twitter.com/8XH7Tpjmvj— Andrew L (@achan23) July 11, 2022
Meanwhile, Windhorst also suggested the market for Irving remains sparse or as Windhorst said, “frozen.”
”The market on Kyrie remains frozen. The only team known to have interest is the Los Angeles Lakers. and the Nets have given out the vibe they want to do a Kevin Durant trade first before moving on to Kyrie,” said WIndhorst.
“So Kyrie will be welcome to games. Nets would be happy to have him attend summer league games but I think he’s played his last game for the Brooklyn Nets.”
Friedell agreed and said he would be stunned if Irving was back next season, under any circumstances:
“That was the most miserable team (at the end of the year) I’ve been around in all my years covering the league,” said Friedell. “If the Nets bring Kyrie back in to training camp and start the season with him playing on this team, that would stun me.”
Windhorst said that unless there is a trade for either superstar coming out of Las Vegas, things will slow down because the league “goes on vacation” after the Summer League is completed on July 17. If no deal by then, Windhorst said don’t expect any real talks till August ... or later.