Remember, everything is a negotiation.
That said, the latest rumor out there, courtesy of Marc Stein, has Kevin Durant preferring to retire rather than play another game for the Nets.
During summer league in Las Vegas, one of the most well-connected team executives I speak to regularly insisted to me that, based on what he was hearing, Kevin Durant was more apt to retire than play again for the Brooklyn Nets. This was in early July.
I told the tipster that I simply couldn’t believe that. I was a loyal subscriber to the theory that Durant The Hooper loves playing basketball way too much to adopt such a stance.
Now? More than a month later? Attaching the R-word to Durant still comes across as serious hyperbole, but it is certainly getting easier to envision him refusing to report to training camp when the Nets get back together in six weeks for Media Day (Sept. 26) and their first practices of the new season (Sept. 27).
If you wanted, you could attach this rumor to KD’s own tweets on Sunday in which he said that he likes his legacy, thank you very much. “It’s all a matter of perspective my g. U say it’s tainted, I say it’s never been stronger.”
But as we noted, everything is a negotiation and by Monday afternoon, Durant made it clear: the reporting is wrong.
I know most people will believe unnamed sources over me but if it’s anyone out there that’ll listen, I don’t plan on retiring anytime soon. Shit is comical at this point.— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) August 15, 2022
Among the first to “like” Durant’s tweet? Joe Tsai.
Stein reported on how the crisis came about as well:
For all of Irving’s professed fondness for the franchise as a New Jersey Nets fan in his youth, he and Durant are believed to have chosen the Nets over the Knicks in free agency largely because they perceived Brooklyn, as much as anything, to be willing to bend to their will far more than James Dolan-owned New York would. That is no longer happening, hence the chaos.
Brooklyn’s change in approach since the season ended is thus believed to be a key driver in Durant’s sudden desire to leave. For all the criticism he is taking for trying to force his way out, and most recently taking the extreme step of calling for the ousters of Marks and Coach Steve Nash if the Nets refuse to trade him, Durant appears to be operating under the belief that he is justified in making all these rebel demands because the Nets have abruptly changed the terms of their deal.
Meanwhile, Brian Windhorst reports that there’s nothing new on the KD trade horizon:
“Ten days ago, Kevin Durant and Joe Tsai met in London. Durant really tried to apply the pressure by asking for Steve Nash and Sean Marks to get fired. And guess what has happened? Nothing. Nothing has happened. The dynamic around Kevin Durant hasn’t changed at all. There hasn’t been an urgency in trade talks. There hasn’t been a change in strategy by the Brooklyn Nets,” Windhorst said on ESPN.
“I think what we have here is really a study of leverage. First off, the Nets do not have leverage in trade talks with other teams. They are not giving them the offers that they want. They see no reason to increase them. And so they’re not making any progress there. And Kevin Durant clearly does not have leverage with the Brooklyn Nets. He is asking for things: ‘Get me traded. Fire the coach. Fire the GM.’ He is being told no. So when you have denied leverage, you have a stalemate.”
Meanwhile, Stephen A. Smith returned from vacation and told his ESPN audience and Joe Tsai what he would tell Kevin Durant...
- Kevin Durant pushes back against retirement rumor amid Nets drama: ‘S–t is comical’ - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- How long will Kevin Durant’s trade request linger? History says NBA star trades take a while - Sam Amick - The Athletic
- Nets 2022 free agency and trade buzz: Kevin Durant refutes ‘comical’ retirement report - Ian Begley, Danny Abriano, Scott Thompson & Alex Smith - SNY
- Nets’ Kevin Durant Denies Retirement Rumors: ‘S—t Is Comical at This Point’ - Scott Polacek - Bleacher Report