Months of speculation, rumors, internet diatribes, photos from private workouts, and Tweets — perhaps foremost among all the things on this list — have led to this moment. The moment where the long overdue notification we’ve all been expecting, with baited breath or not, lights up our phones. Here goes; shall we read it together, friends? Deep breath.
Wait... ohhhhh. Okay, right, so this was all for nothing. Good stuff. I’m sure the fallout won’t be swift and brutal for many of those tangentially involved.
Fifty-four days after Kevin Durant woke up and chose violence, unexpectedly (to some) requesting a trade from the Brooklyn Nets with a wishlist in one hand and a pitchfork in his other, the saga has concluded with what can only be described as a whimper. The Nets released the following statement this morning from general manager Sean Marks:
Both The Athletic’s Shams Charania and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski also reported the news, with Charania adding that the full contingent that met to work out Durant’s future with the franchise included Durant himself, his business manager Rich Kleiman, Marks, coach Steve Nash, and owners Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai. Wojnarowski noted, “In the end, Kevin Durant and the Nets played out in a similar way to Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in 2007: A tumultuous summer after a trade request, talks with teams, no deal and ultimately a decision to return to the franchise.”
Charania recently reported that, “Durant met with Tsai in London in early August to discuss his future with the team. He said he had no faith in the team’s direction at that time and wanted the Nets to choose between him and Marks and Nash, according to sources.” Maybe that faith has been restored; maybe both sides grew tired of fighting their way toward a deal that was never going to be made. That seems most likely: that the teams on Durant’s wishlist — the Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat were his preferences back in June — couldn’t meet the Nets expectations, and other suitors weren’t willing to either.
One of those suitors, as per tradition when a superstar surfaces the trade market unexpectedly, was reportedly Brad Stevens. For weeks on end, the Boston Celtics found themselves in the center of rumors aplenty, all of which featured Jaylen Brown as a centerpiece to any trade offer the Nets would even think to consider. According to Charania, the Celtics offered Brown, Derrick White, and a first-round pick in July, but the Nets wanted more.
Did the Nets want Marcus Smart and/or Robert Williams III to be included? Probably. And Stevens was never going to make that move. Durant is a superstar, one of the best players in the league — if not the best when healthy — but he’s 34 and seems to want out of every franchise the moment his plane touches down. That’s not exactly the player you sell the farm for, not when that farm just made its way to the NBA Finals, going through Durant’s Nets in the process.
But that was all for naught, it seems. Durant’s tumultuous summer has come to a close, and he remains in Brooklyn, where he will seemingly play out the remaining years of the massive contract he agreed to back in 2021.