Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant try to salvage trade leverage with press release

Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets have had enough of the Kevin Durant trade talks

The Brooklyn Nets took one look at the Kevin Durant trade market given their fractured leverage and decided it wasn’t worth it. Being denied Desmond Bane in return for one of the league’s best players will do that to you.

After Monday’s talk that swirled around Kevin Durant following a comprehensive report from Shams Charania on every team that has inquired on Durant (subscription required), the Nets and Durant released a statement that indicates both parties are moving forward together into the 2022-23 season.

The Brooklyn Nets killed the climax and tried to restore their leverage

On Tuesday morning, after a flurry of rumors and speculation fueled by the Monday Charania column, the Nets killed it all with one Tweet released alongside Kevin Durant and his representative, Rich Kleiman.

So now the Nets have an agreement from Durant as well as Kyrie Irving to move forward with the season.

Let’s read between the lines, though.

The Nets clearly had little leverage with Durant. They have denied any remotely reasonable offers in an attempt to drive the price up and manufacture a bidding war, and despite interest from at least seven teams according to Charania’s column, no bidding war exists. There is a widespread, fragmented interest in Durant, but no collective push for him at this point.

The Nets had little leverage since Durant’s trade request was so drastic and so public. With this press release, they’ll finally get a little bit of that back.

Does this mean a trade is off the table? Not necessarily. My speculative take is that the Nets approached Rich Kleiman and told him there were no valid offers coming in because Durant had soiled the leverage, and asked for some teamwork to get the bartering chips in the right place.

Ultimately, the Nets could have held out all season if they wanted to for the right deal. He’s under contract through 2026. Such a joint statement ironically will help open the door to move Durant sooner.

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