We did it. We went through the Holiday weekend without the league being completely shaken up by an acquisition. While there were rumors, no deal for Kevin Durant or the Brooklyn Nets was completed over the long weekend. Durant of course, requested a trade just before the June 30 free agent window opened in the NBA. Despite being linked to multiple teams, recent reports say there is “no traction” for any Durant deals.
One trade that has happened since Durant demanded his trade was Rudy Gobert being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Utah Jazz getting a giant haul in return. Now that has steepened the market for Durant and likely slowed any trade talks. However, that doesn’t have one NBA analyst wondering if part of the deal is because Durant truly doesn’t want to be traded.
Kendrick Perkins: ‘I Don’t Believe Kevin Durant Wants to be Traded’
In a July 5 segment of ESPN’s NBA Today, Kendrick Perkins was asked Who we should be keeping an eye on in Kevin Durant trade discussions? But Perkins had different ideas on the status of a Durant deal getting done.
“I came up with the conclusion that I don’t believe Kevin Durant. I don’t believe him at all. As a matter of fact, it makes zero sense to me that he wants to be traded at this point. I don’t believe he believes it,” Perkins said on the July 5 episode of ESPN’s NBA Today. “I think Kevin Durant is doing this as a scare tactic in order to help Kyrie Irving have leverage to get him signed long-term with the Brooklyn Nets.”
Part of the reason why Perkins came to the conclusion that Durant doesn’t want to be traded is because how quickly a Rudy Gobert trade happened and that if Durant wanted to be traded a team would have put together a deal to make it happen. ESPN’s Zach Lowe refuted Perkins belief by pointing out what the Gobert trade meant for the Nets discussions.
“Rudy Gobert being traded for seven draft assets is one of the reasons why Kevin Durant hasn’t been traded. It’s virtually impossible for the Nets to get that kind of return for Kevin Durant from one team and maybe not even two teams. So this is going to take as they try to cobble the best package possible.” Zach Lowe added on NBA Today.
Could This all be for Leverage?
Perkins is no stranger to making headlines for wild takes, but this one is interesting. Kyrie Irving certainly did everything possible trying to get leverage in contract negotiations. He had a list of teams he’d like to play for. He considered signing with the Los Angeles Lakers for the $6 million mid-level exception and even got permission to seek teams to be traded for. After minimal interest, he opted into the final year of his contract with the Brooklyn Nets, only for Durant to demand a trade a day later.
While NBA insiders did report that Irving’s actions were largely to get leverage in his negotiations, would Durant be willing to do the same for him? Durant has proven to be one of the best friends one can have amid the Kyrie drama, but requesting a trade so that the Nets could lock him in long-term would be a new one.