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Post: Kevin Durant’s differences with Nets ownership, management run deep

Olympiacos Piraeus v AS Monaco - Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Play Off Game Five Photo by Panagiotis Moschandreou/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Brian Lewis and Josh Kosman of the Post report Wednesday that Kevin Durant’s differences with the Nets organization run deep, quoting a source close to KD, but the writers also note that if the Nets can’t find a willing trade partner, he’s unlikely to sit things out.

“I would think there are so many things, it’s not one thing,” the source said. “I think KD wants to leave and it doesn’t matter what reasons he says.”

Specifically, Lewis and Kosman cite a number of issues, some of which are new.

  • Durant wasn’t consulted on the Nets decision not to renew assistant coach Adam Harrington, KD’s long-time shooting coach and friend;
  • Durant believes the Nets did not adequately lobby former Mayor Bill deBlasio before the city’s vaccine mandate was put in place last September;
  • Durant believes Sean Marks “traded away too many pieces,” not further detailed

The Post report follows word, originally reported by Shams Charania, that KD issued an ultimatum to Joe Tsai Saturday in London, asking that the owner fire Marks and head coach Steve Nash, who he had effusively praised as recently as Game 4 of the Nets loss to the Celtics.

After Shams reported on the ultimatum, Tsai tweeted, “Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”

“The ultimatum he made is not what really caused the deterioration. It’s not the ultimatum itself,” the source said, adding of the Harrington decision. “There are simple things that erode a relationship. You fired someone he was close to and didn’t have a conversation about it.”

If indeed that was the case, it would have seem to have broken a tacit agreement between the Nets GM and his superstars to consult on any major personnel moves.

On the deBlasio lobbying issue, the same source told Lewis and Kosman that the Nets had not pushed hard enough to have the city exempt those players who live outside the city, like Kyrie Irving, from the vaccine mandate. The Post had previously reported that the original mandate language included such an exemption.

Tsai, as The Post reported exclusively, did not lobby then-Mayor Bill de Blasio to allow unvaccinated players living outside New York City to play home games when there was word his vaccination policy would change to include them.

The Nets did hire a lobbyist in February, former City Council president Corey Johnson and someone close to current mayor Eric Adams, to get the mandates removed which did take place in March, finally permitting Irving to play both home and road games for the first time. That lobbying contract was to pay Johnson a total of $324,000 over 18 months.

“I would think there are so many things, it’s not one thing,” the source said. “I think KD wants to leave and it doesn’t matter what reasons he says.”

The source also said that Tsai holds the ultimate power on any Durant trade.

Still, at the end of the day, the source doesn’t think that Durant would sit out, as his new teammate Ben Simmons did last year in Philly nor presumably play at less than a high level as his old teammate James Harden did last year in Brooklyn.

“I don’t think he’s not going to play.” the source said.

Lewis and Kosman also wrote separately that Irving’s agent (and stepmother) Shetellia Riley Irving denied a report in the Post Tuesday that Irving “hates” Nash and Marks. That story quoted “a source close to the Nets organization.” There was no indication that source is or is not the same person the two relied on for the Wednesday story.

“I am not sure where this narrative is coming from but Kyrie does not hate Steve nor Sean. That’s not a part of his being nor how he represents himself in the world. He’s about peace, love and acceptance,” Riley Irving told The Post.

However, Riley Irving declined comment when asked if Irving agreed with Durant that the two should be fired.

Meanwhile, both Shams and Kristian Winfield of the Daily News dismissed a report by FOX Sports Ric Bucher that Simmons abruptly left the team group chat before Game 4 of the Celtics series.

“This NEVER happened.. it’s an amazing story but it didn’t happen,” Shams told Pat McAfee.

Simmons seemed to address and dismiss the report in a tweet of his own Tueday.

Durant continues to tour Europe with Harden, being spotted Tuesday at a hotel in Barcelona, Spain. The two attended a Travis Scott concert in London Saturday night, presumably after Durant met with Tsai.