The Brooklyn Nets hold the keys to the entire NBA summer right now, as what they do with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will dictate when and what other moves get made around the league. No one is interested in making other major trades until Durant’s trade request is completed, as no one wants to give away assets or space that could be used to either land Durant or facilitate a trade and land picks or players as a third or fourth team in a more complicated transaction.
As such, the hope of many was for a Durant deal to get done sooner than later, but as talks drag on, now approaching a full week of trade discussions, it’s becoming apparent that this situation may not get resolved in short order. In fact, the Nets have indicated that they could be willing to take this thing all the way to training camp if teams don’t come correct with their best offer, and Shams Charania reported on the Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday that the Nets were even willing to play next season with Irving and Durant back on the roster.
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) July 5, 2022
“Kyrie Irving opts in, his intention at that point is to play out the year. Kevin Durant made a decision only he can make in terms of going to the Nets and requesting a trade out of Brooklyn. From everything I’m told, that stance has not changed. There’s been no signal he’s going to back off of that, if anything, that stance is expected to continue throughout this offseason in terms of Kevin Durant wanting a trade out of Brooklyn. On the other hand the Nets, they pick up TJ Warren today, they’re making moves and doing things this offseason which, in their minds, the preparation and operation as if they’re bringing these two guys back next season and playing with these two guys. Now I think they’re open in dialogue and they’re open to teams like Toronto, Phoenix, Miami making offers, but until they get that price threshold met — which I’m told is All-Star type players, boatload of draft picks — they’re not going to move Kevin Durant until the price is met.”
Charania also notes that most of the recent superstar trades we’ve had, like Kyrie, Anthony Davis, and Kawhi Leonard, have all taken a month plus to get worked out, so it isn’t out of character for them to have this sort of timetable.
What this seems to be, mostly, is the Nets further illustrating their determination to get their demands met. While a public trade request is never a good thing for a team, Durant’s contract at least leaves Brooklyn with some leverage to hold the line on their demands because the clock isn’t ticking on him becoming a free agent. That’s what we are seeing right now and they know that, for a team like Phoenix especially, the closer the season gets the more they’ll start to feel the pressure to get this done, as their title window with Chris Paul is closing faster than anything else in this scenario.
While the Nets may be willing to take this into camp, no one wants that, but it’s the right thing to push to the masses in what figures to be a very long and public negotiation.