Never a dull moment. While fans were wondering who might land P.J. Tucker, or Deandre Ayton, we got an update of absolutely seismic proportions. Kevin Durant has requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets.
Like many of you, I had to stare at my phone for several beats before I realized this was not a fake Shams Charania account.
But indeed, it appears quite real. As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said: “Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks is working with Kevin Durant and his business manager Rich Kleiman on finding a trade for the franchise star, Kleiman tells ESPN.”
Durant requested a trade with the team today, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/BkNEHwkrc0— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2022
The timing is perplexing. Last week Joe Tsai was in a stand off with Kyrie Irving. Management apparently was too reluctant to commit long-term to a player who has been unavailable or injured for large swaths of his Nets tenure. People speculated that Irving was leaning on Durant, his friend, for leverage. But ultimately the Nets did not cave and Irving opted in for one more year. Things seemed fine, and they enjoyed the third best odds to win the East for a few days. But now the record has screeched. Could that have anything to do with this? Is Durant appalled they didn’t want to commit to his friend? Is he fed up with the Irving shtick? Did seeing Golden State win without him make him reassess things?
Interestingly, the Nets apparently swung a trade sending out a first round pick for Utah Jazz swingman Royce O’Neal:
It’s a pretty clear indication that the club is still trying to win now, burning future assets for help, isn’t it? If they wanted to move on from Durant, one would think they’d aim towards a full rebuild. But perhaps they can land an offer big enough to retool? Days ago, the team’s odds to acquire Suns big DeAndre Ayton saw a surge.
We’ll hang on this shocking story. It made sense that once Irving lost his standoff with management and opted into his $36.5M deal that they’d at least see how things looked with KD, Irving, and Ben Simmons. They also have a pair of picks from the Sixers they could have (still can) shopped. Maybe they just used one on O’Neal.
As the Nets prepare to move one of the most valuable trade assets ever on the market, the entire roster will available to discuss in deals, sources tell ESPN. Teams have been calling on Durant, and the Nets will certainly look for a historic return on players and draft picks.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2022
Phoenix and Miami are among two of the teams that Kevin Durant has on his wish list, sources tell ESPN, but the Nets plan to move Durant where they can get the best possible deal. With four years on his contract, there's no shortage of teams willing to unload assets for Durant.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2022
Wild times. The Sixers best offer here that they’d consider probably involves Tyrese Maxey somehow. But would he be paired with Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle? James Harden would probably looove a reunion with KD, just kidding, but you could pay him to be OK with it. Could KD be tempted to join the guy he gave his MVP vote to in Embiid, and find that third ring he was searching for in Brooklyn? This is crazy. Hopefully, there’s no super team this season, unless it’s one in Philly.