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After Kevin Durant demands Sean Marks, Steve Nash be fired, Joe Tsai offers support

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2022 NBA Playoffs - Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

In the latest chapter in the Nets off-season drama, Shams Charania reports that Kevin Durant and Joe Tsai did indeed meet this weekend and the superstar told the owner he has to fire his general manager and head coach.

Hours later, Tsai issued a statement on Twitter, expressing in confidence in the front office and coaching staff ... and implicit confirmation of the meeting...

The superstar, who many think is the game’s greatest player, had asked Tsai to trade him back on June 30, hours before his four-year, $198 million contract extension was to kick in. There had been reports from Brian Windhorst among other that the Nets did not have “100 percent clarity” on why KD wanted out. Shams report suggests that is no longer the case.

Steve Bulpett, writing for, last week reported that there would be a meeting but did not pinpoint the date or location of the discussion. Shams said the meeting took place in London on Saturday. Durant has been in Europe recently, both in St. Tropez on the French Riviera and London, where he attended a Travis Scott concert with James Harden, also on Saturday.

Even before Tsai’s show of support, the ultimatum was unlikely to produce the result Durant intended, unless of course 12-time All-Star pushed the idea simply to reinvigorate trade talks that by all accounts are at a standstill ... and end speculation that he might be interested in “running it back” next season. The Nets have asked a huge return for KD but have failed to get any of the teams rumored to be interested to come close to what Brooklyn desires.

In addition, it will make trading Durant for a respectable package less likely in that the league’s other 29 teams are right to believe the Nets are dealing from a position of weakness.

It would have been difficult to imagine that Tsai would dump either man but Marks in particular. The two have been described as “lockstep” and “like peas in a pod” on issues related to Durant and Kyrie Irving who opted into his $36.5 million contract after difficult negotiations the day before Durant asked out. Moreover, it’s equally hard to imagine that Tsai — or any pro sports team owner — would give into a player demand on what is and has always been a owner’s prerogative.

Moreover, Nash has Marks confidence, the two going back to their playing days together in Phoenix. Marks had been trying to get Nash on board from nearly the beginning of his tenure as GM before finally hiring him as head coach in September 2020, a move KD and Irving reportedly endorsed. Durant and Nash had worked together in Golden State when Durant played for the Warriors and Nash was a consultant.

The ultimatum is a 180 degree turn from what Durant was saying about his head coach as the season came to a close.

Five months ago, to the day, Durant said of Nash, “I think he’s handling it all perfectly, to be honest.” Then after the Nets lost in four games to the Celtics, KD reiterated his praise. “Steve’s been dealt a crazy hand the last two years. He’s had to deal with so much stuff as the head coach, a first-time coach: trades, injuries, COVID, it’s just a lot of stuff he’s had to deal with and I’m proud of how he’s focused and his passion for us,” Durant told the media. “We all continue to keep developing over the summer and see what happens.”

There’s been no public statement from Durant as to why he apparently changed his position. As Alex Schiffer wrote later Monday:

If Durant wanted Nash out but didn’t feel like putting him on blast to the media 10 minutes after the season ended, he could have discussed Nash’s future with an “I don’t know” or “Now’s not the time for that.” But he didn’t.

NetsDaily was recently told that the Nets intend be “hardline” on Durant. Of course, the Nets created a player empowerment dynamic on Marks’ arrival in 2016 which led the signing of Durant and Irving three and a half years later.

As for a potential landing spot, Shams reported that Boston, with a package centered on Jaylen Brown, remains the most likely.

The Celtics, Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat remain the most significant candidates to acquire Durant, sources said, with Boston’s package centering around All-Star forward Jaylen Brown seen as a viable deal. Tsai and the Nets have made clear privately that they will take every last asset from a team that trades for Durant, sources said.