Ex-Lakers Coach Calls Out Kevin Durant, Nets for Handling of Trade Demand

Kevin Durant, Steve Nash

Getty Kevin Durant and Steve Nash look on during a recent game against the Miami Heat.

The Brooklyn Nets will finally debut their All-Star trio of Kevin Durant, Ben Simmons, and Kyrie Irving this season. There was a lot of skepticism on if their debut would ever come to fruition, especially after Durant left the NBA shellshocked when he demanded a trade from the franchise on June 30. In the end Durant and the Nets were able to come to an agreement for him to return to the franchise this year as he enters his fourth season with the Nets.

Despite Durant signing a 4-year $198 million max contract extension with the Nets in 2021, it seemed inevitable that he would be traded. Brooklyn agreed to honor Durant’s trade request but was adamant about not moving him unless they got a substantial return for a player of his caliber.

Former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott says he would have handled Durant’s trade request completely differently if he was in the Nets’ position.

“Well, I would’ve told KD that I’m NOT trading you,” Scott said to Bally Sports’ Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson while on a Bovada Sports segment at TJ Kidd’s Celebrity basketball game.

“You just signed a 4-year deal, and you just played one year, and now you want to be traded? I’m not trading you! So, suck it up, you have three more years here, and we’re going to try to make this work.”

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Scott Has High Praise for Sean Marks

The Nets always had the leverage when it came to Durant’s trade request. This season he will enter year one of a four-year max contract extension, which meant Brooklyn was not obligated to trade him, even if they did find a return that they felt was of equal value. Scott adds that in today’s NBA, too much focus is put on accommodating players who request trades, as opposed to rectifying the situation that caused them to make the demand.

“I think one of the biggest things that’s so crazy about the league today is when guys ask for trades, teams try to accommodate them instead of saying, Listen. We’re going to work this out, you know? You got three or four years left on your contract here… Plus the fact that they can’t get the value for KD that they would need, you know? So, it’s like almost starting all over again,” Scott said per release.

“So, I would’ve just had a sit-down talk and I know Sean Marks is a great guy; he played for me in New Orleans, I know he’s a great guy. But I would sit him down and say to him, ‘Listen, man, we’re NOT trading you. It is what it is. We want you to play here and we want you to be happy but, YOU signed the deal!’

Scott: Frank Vogel Should Have Benched Westbrook

Even though the Nets caught a lot of heat after being swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics, they were not the only failed super team experiment last season. So too were the Los Angeles Lakers, who failed to qualify for the play-in tournament despite having a wealth of talent in LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook.

Scott says one adjustment the Lakers could have made to avoid last season’s meltdown was putting Westbrook on the bench.

“You know what? I think the thing that they should’ve done last year is (former Lakers coach) Frank [Vogel] should’ve had a candid conversation with Russ and said, “We’re going to bring you off the bench, and that way you can be Russ,” Scott added per release.

“The ball is in your hands and you’re playing against second-tier guys, and you’ve been killing first-tier guys for so many years, AND you’ll be able to facilitate to the other guys.”

The Nets and Lakers were the favorites to meet in last year’s NBA Finals. Now with both teams coming back retooled in 2023, it will be interesting to see if that matchup comes to fruition.

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