Report: Kevin Durant tells Nets owner to pick him or coach, GM
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant reportedly met with team owner Joe Tsai in London on Saturday and reiterated his trade request, although with a caveat.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports Durant told Tsai he does not believe in the team’s current trajectory but told the owner that Tsai must choose between him or the leadership duo of head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks. The potential for Durant to change his mind and welcome staying in Brooklyn even under those circumstances, however, appears unlikely, per Charania.
The Nets have direct knowledge of the reasons behind Durant’s request, sources said, and understand that the 12-time All-Star will continue to be resolute in his stance. Durant is believed to want a change of scenery heading into his 16th season.
Later in the day following the report, Tsai tweeted a response to the report.
Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.
— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) August 8, 2022
The report moved the news cycle needle a tad since talks between Brooklyn and suitors for Durant have seemingly gone cold since the star requested a trade from the Nets on June 30.
The Nets, according to Charania, remain firm in asking for a massive trade package in exchange for Durant, who has four years and $198 million left on his current contract.
Charania adds that the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat are the “most significant candidates” to push for a Durant acquisition.
The reporter did not mention the Phoenix Suns, who were atop Durant’s personal wish list but on paper look less equipped to give the Nets an enticing offer.
Most of that momentum for Phoenix came with center Deandre Ayton as a restricted free agent. His salary or inclusion in a three-team trade gave the Suns a better chance of getting involved in the Durant sweepstakes, but as it was reported within a day of Durant’s trade request, Brooklyn was not interested in taking back Ayton directly.
Ayton, now back with the Suns on a four-year max deal, cannot be traded for a year unless he consents.
That means the Suns still would have to center a Durant trade package around Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, as many draft picks and swaps as possible, and maybe more.
Phoenix would also have to be willing to gut its roster of at least multiple role players around a core of Chris Paul and Devin Booker.
Durant appeared in 55 games for the Nets last season and averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game. He shot 52% from the field and 38% from three.