All’s well that ends well.
A roller-coaster summer in Brooklyn ended with Kevin Durant withdrawing his trade request and deciding to run it back with the Nets.
Durant arrived at the decision after meeting with Nets owner Joe Tsai and his wife Clara Wu Tsai, general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash in Los Angeles on Monday. Durant’s business manager Rich Kleiman was also in the crucial meeting that finally ended the two-month stalemate.
“Steve Nash and I, together with Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai, met with Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman in Los Angeles yesterday. We agreed to move forward with our partnership. We are focusing on basketball, with one collective goal in mind: build a lasting franchise to bring a championship to Brooklyn.”Sean Marks, Nets GM via Brooklyn Nets
Durant shocked the NBA when he requested a trade back on June 30, listing Phoenix and Miami as his preferred landing spots. The Nets asked for a King’s ransom which made trading Durant difficult.
As days turned into months, Durant put pressure on the Nets and delivered an ultimatum two weeks ago to Tsai: “trade me or fire Marks and Nash.”
Tsai called Durant’s bluff and issued public support for Marks and Nash.
Several teams have inquired about Durant from rival team Boston, which offered Jaylen Brown, Derrick White and a first-round pick, to Memphis, which has boatloads of picks. But no team has ever come close to meeting the Nets’ sky-high price for the 12-time NBA All-Star and two-time champion.
Durant’s commitment to continue his partnership with the Nets makes them a strong contender again, given the offseason additions Marks had pulled off.
After the long and rangy Celtics swept them in the first round, the Nets retooled. They traded for the defensive-minded Royce O’Neal and took a flier on veterans TJ Warren and Edmond Sumner. They also re-signed Nic Claxton and Patty Mills to new deals.
With Ben Simmons, Joe Harris and Seth Curry expected to return from injuries, the Nets have the depth, size and shooting to surround Durant and Kyrie Irving, who opt into the final year of his original contract.
Perhaps Durant realized that he could not enjoy this depth with the team who would trade for him, given his price tag.
His best shot to win another championship is to stay in Brooklyn rather than gut out his “next” team.
Now that Durant’s situation has been resolved, the Nets can pivot to rounding up the roster with two more spots open.
Some of the big names left in the free agent market are Carmelo Anthony, DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard, Hassan Whiteside, Rajon Rondo and Dennis Schroder.
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