Saturday, February 4 2023

Kevin Durant technically plays basketball for the Brooklyn Nets. Whether he’ll actually play for them again remains unclear.

It’s been more than six weeks since KD blindsided the Nets with a trade request.

Team brass has yet to meet his demand, of course, and though nothing has changed for Durant from a contractual standpoint, the fact that he plays for the Nets has taken on an entirely different meaning. The connotations are far from positive, and they’ve only gotten worse since reports surfaced that Durant gave his team an ultimatum: him, or GM Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash.

The most recent revelations have “Undisputed” cohost Shannon Sharpe clamoring for KD’s shipment out of town — and sooner rather than later. 

“They have to trade him now,” he asserted Monday on the show. “There’s a reason why this information leaked. You don’t make a demand like this unless you have a lot of control within the organization.

“Durant wanted Steve Nash! He wanted DeAndre Jordan, and got him starting over Jarrett Allen. He wanted James Harden, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Patty Mills. They gave him all of that, and Joe Tsai is saying ‘I’m tired of you, bro. You ain’t giving me nothing.’ … They’ve got to move him, given he’s dug in like this. He’s made it almost impossible to deal with him. They don’t have a choice: Take the best available offer, and keep it moving.”

Joe Tsai, Nets dig in heels after KD offers ‘them or me’ ultimatum

With four years left on his contract, and little leverage, it’s clear the Nets are in no rush to trade Kevin Durant, and have no intention of letting go of Nash or Marks. Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless examine KD’s options and decide whether he’ll start the year in Brooklyn, or be traded before the offseason is out.

Sharpe’s counterpart wasn’t on board with his sentiments.

“I still believe Kevin Durant is the best player on the planet,” Skip Bayless responded. “He’s a remarkably, astonishingly all-time valuable commodity that you can’t get in return for. You can’t get Kevin Durant back for Kevin Durant.”

Despite his unwavering belief in Durant’s talent, Bayless acknowledged that his off-court issues were becoming an incurable headache. Nonetheless, he maintained that the Nets needed to hold their ground in the standoff, and ensure they weren’t being dictated to.

“I must admit, Kevin Durant is looking worse and worse by the minute,” Bayless said. “He’s backing himself deeper and deeper into a corner he won’t be able to flail his way out of. This was the last act of a desperate man, who knows that his bluff has been called. He realizes he’s losing all — if not most of his leverage.

“For Kevin to suddenly make it ‘me, or they go’ is laughably absurd. After they got crushed by Boston, Kevin was the first one to stand up and defend Steve Nash. Steve made sure that four of his assistants had ties to Kevin. And Sean Marks was the one who gave Kevin his four-year extension. I think he’s done an outstanding job. Kevin’s not a holdout kind of guy. He just wants to hoop. He won’t just show up and play half-hearted — it’s not in him. They know that, and they know somebody, somewhere has to stand up to the superstar.”

As far as power plays are concerned, Brooklyn possesses the leverage in the dilemma. And though Durant has vowed that he won’t suit up for the team again — there are murmurs that KD would be more apt to retire than play for the Nets, per longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein — he’s not in a position to force his hand. 

So, what will the Nets do with their disgruntled superstar?


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Source: FOX Sports

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