While the world was waiting for an update on Kevin Durant’s meeting with Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai, the superstar forward was planning to present the organization with an ultimatum. In a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania, that ultimatum was made public. The Brooklyn Nets now must decide between Kevin Durant, or the duo of Steve Nash and Sean Marks.
In his latest article, Charania wrote, “In a face-to-face meeting with Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai over the weekend, All-NBA star Kevin Durant reiterated his trade request and informed Tsai that he needs to choose between Durant or the pairing of general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash, sources with direct knowledge of the meeting tell The Athletic.”
Adding that Durant no longer has confidence in the organization’s current direction, Charania contextualized this ultimatum. With Durant currently preferring a change of scenery, one would have to occur internally if the Nets were to regain his trust and commitment.
Why does Durant gain from this?
If Kevin Durant still desires to be traded, why would the two-time Finals MVP present his current team with an avenue to regain his commitment? Upon first glance, this ultimatum from Durant seems to indicate a potential willingness to run things back in Brooklyn. While it would of course have to occur under a new head coach and general manager, the superstar forward seemed to indicate a willingness to play alongside the current roster.
While that logic is sound, and not inherently incorrect, the truth seems to reside somewhere closer to Durant’s trade request. With each report over the last several weeks indicating a lack of traction on a Durant deal, the possibility of the Nets holding onto Durant has become more realistic with each passing day. Brooklyn’s unwillingness to reduce their historic asking price, combined with each team’s unwillingness to meet it, has created a legitimate level of pessimism that a deal is even possible.
Kevin Durant has certainly followed this development, and his latest ultimatum complicates it. With four years left on Durant’s contract, the Nets could refuse to trade him without any significant risk of losing him for nothing. The superstar forward would then have to decide between sitting out and forfeiting millions of dollars while his reputation suffers, or swallowing his pride and suiting up.
Neither of those options are understandably attractive to Durant, which is why his meeting with Joe Tsai helped maximize leverage. With the Nets likely preferring to bring the superstar forward back, given none of the current offers please them, that is no longer a viable option with public dissension between Durant, Nash, and Marks.
What should the Nets do?
While the easy answer for the Brooklyn Nets would be to fire Steve Nash and Sean Marks, committing to Kevin Durant for four more seasons, owner Joe Tsai seems to have made his decision. In a Tweet shortly after the news broke of Durant’s ultimatum, Tsai publicly expressed his commitment to Nash and Marks:
With the relationship between Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets now irreparable, the once impossible task of trading him may be more imminent than ever.