While the Nets may have hoped, indeed planned, that they’d have multiple bidders for Kevin Durant, a bidding war with a big haul at the end. But ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says no such war has materialized.
Moreover, Windhorst said there remains only one bidder for Kyrie Irving, the Lakers, and they are playing hardball.
“When the Nets put him on the market, I think [the Nets] thought there was going to be a tremendous bidding war and while there’s a lot of interest, from what I can tell, that bidding war isn’t really hot right now.
“The teams have made their offers and they don’t really see the need to increase them,” Windhorst added. “Now maybe they’ll be a little bit of action at Summer League where NBA executives are gathering the next few days. There could be a restart of action there.
“There are a couple of things that happened that made even more complicated. It involved the Utah Jazz. The Jazz make this trade with Rudy Gobert last week and get an incredible haul of draft picks. The Nets’ respond by saying, ‘now, the price for Durant just went higher’ and the rest of the league is saying, ‘We don’t think so. We didn’t like that price, we didn’t like that trade.”
Of course, as Windhorst himself said Wednesday on Hoop Collective, everything at this point is an negotiation ... and there’s plenty of time for things to change with nearly three months till training.
Still, it was the second time in two days that the ESPN writer implied that things have slowed down. On Wednesday, Windhorst said the Nets are not impressed with the offers they have received so far.
“From what I understand, I don’t think the Nets are thrilled with the others they have gotten for Durant yet,” said Windhorst on NBA Today. “I don’t think that that’s a hot take considering that they’re reassessing with where they’re at. I think the reason is this: It’s somewhat known in the NBA that Durant prefers going to the Phoenix Suns and the Suns offer, what they have to offer right now just isn’t that interesting to Brooklyn. Brooklyn is interested in other things.”
Windhorst also said that with the Pelicans signing Zion Williamson, New Orleans may be wondering if they want to break up their young core, putting Brandon Ingram in a deal to Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, in a separate discussion on Get Up, Windhorst said there is no market for Kyrie Irving other than in L.A. with the Lakers.
“We have heard more in the last week about teams that have no interest in Kyrie than we have about teams that do have interest,” he said. “There was some reports that maybe Philly, maybe Dallas, and those teams very quickly pushed back on it. ‘No, no, no, no. We don’t want him.
“So if you’re the Lakers, I’m saying, ‘Who we bidding against? Why should we include those things? Who are we bidding against? Why shouldn’t we protect those picks? Do you have another offer to make us change our stance?’ And that’s the position the Lakers are taking.”
Windhorst did say that things could accelerate next month when the Lakers and LeBron James begin negotiating on an extension, suggesting that LBJ might push for his former teammate in Cleveland.
Meanwhile, Marc J. Spears, Chief NBA Writer for ESPN’s Andscape, told the ESPN writers that they should not dismiss the Golden State Warriors as a contender for KD.
“The one team, i am telling you guys, to keep an eye on is the Golden State Warriors. Golden State could have the best package for both parties. Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, All-Star Andrew Wiggins and former No. 2 pick James Wiseman,” said Spears.
“What the Nets want is a young All-Star, perhaps a future All-Star — they’re all under 30 — and they also want picks, maybe the ability to swap picks, but if you can get those four players if I’m the Nets, I’m very happy. And for Kevin Durant ... they’re very familiar with and vice versa. He knows where to live in San Francisco. He knows how the offense works. He knows he can win a championship there.”
Indeed on Wednesday night, Shams Charania reported Golden State is one of four teams he believes have the inside track.
“All conversations are open for teams to call, reach out, submit offers. Teams like Suns, Heat, Raptors, Warriors,” Shams told Bally Sports. “Those are among the teams that are gonna be at the forefront trying to pursue a Kevin Durant deal.”