At the top of the NBA free agency period, Kevin Durant requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. His request comes just one year removed from his signing a 4-year, $198 million max contract extension to remain with the franchise. Despite his commitment, Nets general manager Sean Marks and owner Joe Tsai have vowed to honor his trade request. However, they have also been adamant about not executing a trade for Durant unless they can find a deal for their franchise player that compensates them accordingly.
Thus far, there has been no real movement on the Nets making a deal for Durant as most talks have not matured past the preliminary stages. And according to ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst, trade talks for the Nets star could stall far into the future as Brooklyn is not in a rush to deal their franchise player.
“Nothing has happened. The dynamic around Kevin Durant hasn’t changed at all… Durant clearly does not have leverage with the Brooklyn Nets… We may be here at the end of August, we may be here in mid-September,” Windhorst said on the August 15 airing of ESPN’s “Get Up!”
“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.
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Nets, Durant in Tug of War for Leverage
Part of the reason a trade hasn’t happened to this point is that both Durant and the Nets have been a bit unrealistic about what they want in a potential deal. Durant wants to be in a situation where he can compete for a title, but the reality is that no team can really trade for him unless they relinquish important assets.
And on the Nets’ side of things, what they have requested in exchange for Durant has been a bit overpriced as the All-Star forward will be 34 years old in September with an extensive injury history. All of these outside factors have led to minimal progression in trade talks for the franchise star.
“I think what we have here is really a study of leverage,” Windhorst added.
“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.”
Stephen A. Smith Rips Durant’s Trade Request
However, the reality is that the Nets have all the leverage in a potential trade. Not only do they hold the ultimate chip in Durant, but he is signed to the franchise for the next four years, which could very likely be the remainder of his prime as he will be 37 years old when his current contract ends. In his return to ESPN First Take on August 15, famed analyst Stephen A. Smith said that Nets owner Joe Tsai shouldn’t even be entertaining offers for the Nets star.
“These trade demands are not even close to being justified,” Smith said. “If I’m Joe Tsai for the Brooklyn Nets, you ain’t going no damn place. There is no way in hell I’m letting Kevin Durant leave this year. Hell with that!”
The Nets and Durant have hit a stalemate in his trade request. It will be interesting to see if a holdout is on the way.