Kevin Durant and the Nets need to engage in reconciliation. Whatever reason the superlative forward has requested a trade from the Nets after signing with them as a free-agent in July of 2019 on the heels of winning two championships and two Finals MVPs with Golden State Warriors should be revisited.
There has been a plethora of wild and complicated trade scenarios put forth by various people with perhaps too much downtime that won’t happen because of the numerous proposed moving parts or illogical nature of the suggestions from the Nets position. Brooklyn is not obligated to oblige Durant, who has four more years on his deal with the team that will pay him $53.28 million in the final year of his contract 2026.
He is not eligible to become an unrestricted free-agent until the summer of 2026, when he’ll be two months shy of his 38th birthday. So Durant’s leverage is minimal. He’s a consummate baller for Washington, D.C. and PG County, Maryland, who indisputably has a deep love and respect for the game. Durant admirably handled a dysfunctional situation with the Nets last season underscored by the drama surrounding Kyrie Irving and the arrival of Ben Simmons.
He gave maximum effort on the court and tried to lift the Nets above circumstances that were fundamentally intolerable. Viewing the immediate future of the team through Durant’s prism, it is understandable why he would be resigned to believing not much will change with the mercurial Irving and unpredictable Simmons, a lingering uncertainty of their availability and commitment.
But the opportunity and infrastructure to win a championship elsewhere may not be more favorable for Durant if the Nets’ potential trade partner has to gut their team of some of its top players and prime draft picks to acquire Durant. He’d then join a team that does have the necessities to compete for a title. Nets general manager Sean Marks’ charge, first and foremost, is to set the franchise up to continue being a contender now and years to come.
If Irving and Simmons are mentally and emotionally level and engaged going into next season, the Nets will be a dangerous threat for the rest of the league to confront. If Durant, as some unconfirmed media reports have stated, wants out because the Nets did not extend Irving an offer for a long term deal, instead having him play on his one-year option next season, then the stage is set for Irving to ball out and force the Nets to pay him what he wants.
He will also have the choice to move on and ink a lucrative contract elsewhere. It is an ideal motivator for the amazingly gifted guard. Weighing the current state of affairs, an amicable accord between the Nets and Durant is the reasonable win-win for both parties.