The future of the Brooklyn Nets has been hanging in limbo since the opening of NBA free agency. After Kevin Durant requested a trade from the franchise, less than one year removed from signing a 4-year, $198 million extension, most believe Durant has played his last game as a Net.
If he is moved, Durant will be the biggest superstar in the history of the NBA to be traded. But not the first. After the NBA Board of Governors meeting in Las Vegas on July 12, commissioner Adam Silver warned that stars forcing trades, the way that Durant is trying to do, is a bad look for the league.
“Look, this needs to be a two-way street. Teams provide enormous security and guarantees to players, and the expectation is in return that they’ll meet their end of the bargain,” Silver said of Durant’s trade demand, per Brian Lewis of the “New York Post.
“I’m realistic that there’s always conversations that are going to go on behind closed doors between the players and the representatives of the teams, but we don’t like to see players requesting trades, and we don’t like to see it playing out the way it is.”
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NBA Stars Forcing Trades Could Have Ripple Effect
Since 2017, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, Anthony Davis, and James Harden have all forced trades from undesirable situations to go to more favorable ones, despite being signed to max contracts. It will likely be a topic of discussion when it comes time to vote on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Even though max contract superstars forcing trades has been a rare occurrence, Silver says it could have a ripple effect on all the players.
“It’s not just potentially the league or the team governors who are impacted, but lots of other players as well. So it’s one of those issues that as we move into this collective bargaining cycle … we intend to discuss with our players’ association,” Silver said.
“It’ll never be the case when players won’t be unhappy in certain situations, but we don’t want to see it playing out the way it is now.”
Silver on Nets, Durant Saga: ‘I Feel Like a Fan’
When Durant’s trade request was revealed, most believed it would be a simple one to make. He was presumably one of the players a team would trade the farm to acquire, and the Nets had agreed to honor his request.
Thus far, there has been a tug of war between the Nets and rival teams on what a fair asking price is for Durant, and things are currently at a standstill. Despite his desire to not play for the franchise, Silver says that if the Nets can’t find a trade for KD, he still expects him to fulfill the duties of his contract.
“No one has suggested to me that Kevin Durant has said he’s not willing to live up to the terms of his contract. To say he’d like to play in another city is one thing: To say I’m not going to appear for training camp or certainly games would potentially be a violation of his contract,” Silver added.
“But I don’t know what exactly is going on right now between him and his team. Certainly there’s a lot of buzz in this town about possible moves, but from that standpoint, I feel like a fan.”
The Durant trade talks have hit a wall as there has been little to no movement on a potential deal since the opening of free agency. That could point to a reconciliation taking place.