‘Livid’ NBA Execs, Coaches Sound off on Kevin Durant’s Nets Demands

Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets coach

Getty Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets coach

As Kevin Durant is reportedly making ultimatums, he’s not making many friends in certain parts of the NBA.

But because of who he is, that may not matter even a bit.

It was reported here last week that Durant would be going directly to Nets’ owner Joe Tsai to voice his concerns — the same concerns that led him on June 30 to request a trade.

“There are some things that KD is unhappy about, and I’m not sure any of that gets fixed here,” a league executive told Heavy Sports in that story. “But maybe it does.”

Apparently not.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the meeting took place this past Saturday, and Durant indicated that he could stay with Brooklyn if general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash were no longer there.

Durant Forced His Way to Brooklyn in 2019

Understandably, peers of Marks and Nash were not happy.

“I get that players have more power these days, but I think it’s a little too far if he’s out here trying to get Steve fired,” said one coach, who was quickly reminded of Magic Johnson’s fingerprints on Paul Westhead’s firing back in November of 1981 and other power plays, some of which may well have been justified.

The head of basketball ops from another club was similarly displeased.

“Livid,” he said. “Livid. He and Kyrie (Irving) basically told Sean they were coming (as free agents in 2019), and Sean did pretty much everything they wanted after that. Signing DeAndre Jordan for four years? That’s something Kyrie and KD wanted. Getting James Harden? Then getting a guy who should be a perfect complement to them (Ben Simmons) when Harden wanted out? Sean did all that.

“And now KD doesn’t like how it’s all worked out? There’s probably some other people he should talk to about that, maybe even a teammate,” he said, acknowledging that he was referring to Irving.

However, when asked if he would welcome Durant to his own club should he be attainable at a fair price, the exec paused and laughed.

“Well … ” he said. “OK, you got me there.

“But, see, that’s the part of this that will always be hard for some people to grasp. I’m talking about the fans who just see the players as employees. These guys are not interchangeable parts. You can’t just plug in someone else to do what KD does. Just getting to the NBA makes you a pretty damn rare talent, but guys like KD and LeBron and the other superstars going back in history, they’re even more than that. That’s why they get paid what they do and why they have the power that they do.”

Nets Owner Won’t Cave to Durant Demands

But the Nets’ owner isn’t yielding to Durant’s position on a trade or management restructuring — not yet, and not publicly anyway.

On Monday night, Joe Tsai appeared to side with Marks and Nash, tweeting, “Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”

That could mean he will push Marks harder to meet Durant’s trade demand, or that the Nets will proceed with their current asking price and start the season with KD on the roster — and, the club would hope, on the court — if an acceptable deal isn’t found.

“At this point, it’s hard to see Brooklyn caving to KD on Steve and Sean,” said a league source. “That would look really bad for them. I could definitely see them coming down a bit from all the stuff they’re asking for in a trade, but the people I’m talking to around the league think they might just wait things out. They’re in a [expletive] situation, and they still have to deal with Kyrie. But for right now, they’re holding the cards.”


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