Sarah Stier/Getty Images
Kevin Durant and his agent, Rich Kleiman, made contact with the Brooklyn Nets “recently,” according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
Bondy’s colleague, Kristian Winfield, reported in May that Durant hadn’t spoken with the team since its 2022 playoff exit the previous month. That foreshadowed the drama to come with his trade request two weeks ago.
Bondy reported the Nets still aren’t clear why Durant is asking out:
“As far as preparation and timing, the Nets have leverage. A source said the team was aware of Durant’s unhappiness but surprised by his trade request. The assumption is Irving’s contract drama played a major role in Durant’s discontent, but the Nets haven’t been told specific reasons, a source said. Another possibility for Durant’s disapproval: the team released assistant coach Adam Harrington, a favorite of Durant’s going back to their time together in OKC.”
While Durant and his camp have reopened a line of communication with Brooklyn, it may not change much regarding the situation.
The 12-time All-Star is signed through the 2025-26 season and doesn’t have a no-trade clause. While he can’t handpick his next destination, he’ll presumably want input as to where he might land.
Perhaps this can also lay the groundwork for Durant to walk back his request and stay with the Nets.
For Brooklyn, dealing the 33-year-old isn’t an easy task. The fact that the team leveraged much of its future draft capital to acquire James Harden complicates matters.
The Nets don’t want to go into a total rebuild because they won’t be able to reap the rewards of that in the draft. As a result, they have to thread an almost impossible needle of losing Durant and remaining competitive.
HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported July 2 that Brooklyn wants to recoup “a combination of the best assets from teams, including any All-Star player(s), rising young players with All-Star potential and substantial unprotected draft picks and pick swaps where applicable.”
Only so many teams are in a position to push for a title with Durant while meeting that asking price. Those that can realistically pursue KD have to balance whether the cost becomes so high that the roster is depleted and thus not at a championship level.
Although it probably won’t come to this, the Nets might face a situation where keeping Durant is better than accepting whatever offers are on the table.