Kevin Durant Gives Nets Owner Ultimatum Amid Trade Request: Report
By Jason Hall
August 8, 2022
The Athletic's Shams Charania reports Durant informed Tsai that he doesn't have faith in the Nets' direction and insisted that Tsai "choose between Durant or the pairing of general manager Sean Marks or coach Steve Nash," sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed.
The sources described the meeting between Durant and Tsai -- which took place exactly one year after the All-Star agreed to a four-year, $198 million contract extension -- as "transparent and professional," according to Charania.
Sources: Kevin Durant informed Joe Tsai that he does not have faith in the Nets‘ direction. The meeting was described as transparent and professional, with a clear message: Keep me -- or the GM and coach. https://t.co/W1voNf9MDC https://t.co/0lbBay2OxF— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 8, 2022
On June 30, Durant's business manager, Rich Kleiman, told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that Marks was working with him and Durant on finding a trade for the former NBA regular season and Finals MVP.
Wojnarowski reports that Durant included the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat on his wish list of trade partners, however, specified that the Nets planned to move the perennial All-Star to whatever team offers the best deal.
In June, Charania reported that Durant was weighing his options and monitoring the Nets' situation regarding point guard Kyrie Irving's future before Irving's player option for 2022-23 was exercised days later.
Sources: Kevin Durant is monitoring the Brooklyn Nets’ situation and considering options with his future.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 23, 2022
This now opens the path for Kyrie Irving to proceed on finding a new home via opt-in and trade.
Durant and Irving both signed with the Nets as free agents in 2019, making Brooklyn an immediate favorite to contend for an NBA championship.
However, the Nets have failed to reach the Eastern Conference Finals since the duo joined the team, with Irving missing the majority of their first season together due to injuries and the 2021-22 regular season due to New York's COVID restrictions prohibiting him from playing in home games without being vaccinated.
ESPN's Nick Friedell reported on SportsCenter that he's "been told that" Durant and Irving aren't as close as most believe.
“At every turn publicly, [Kevin Durant] has been there to support [Kyrie Irving], to say we need Kyrie, to say Kyrie can win a title with me here in Brooklyn. But I can tell you, I’ve been talking to people in the organization the last couple of weeks, when they finally sit down and talk to Kevin throughout the summer, they are trying to figure out if Kevin saw what everybody else saw," Friedell said via SBNation. "The reason that whole season got sidetracked was because they couldn’t count on Kyrie, and they didn’t know if he was going to be out there. And the issue with Kevin is, he wants to win badly, he wants to be loyal to his friend. But I’ve been told that relationship, while very close, isn’t always as close as it appears to be.”
Durant, a 12-time All-Star selection, averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game during the 2021-22 season.