A large portion of the NBA offseason was dominated by Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets. They were headline stories from the second that Durant issued his trade request to the team on June 30th, hours before the league’s free agency moratorium was set to begin.
It sent shockwaves throughout the league as over half of the teams made a call to the Nets to gauge the potential of making a trade. Brooklyn made it clear from the beginning that the asking price was going to be set very high as they wanted a combination of All-Star caliber players, rotation guys and draft compensation.
As the weeks wore on, teams were mentioned as potential suitors but no one got close to the Nets’ asking price. Durant at one point made an ultimatum during a meeting, saying it was either him or the duo of general manager Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash.
That wasn’t a demand that the franchise was going to relent to, so a trade seemed likely. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, it was announced that the sides were going to continue their partnership after another meeting.
“A lot of teams are like, ‘We aren’t getting what we want,’ but they’ll eventually settle,” a West scout said.
“I think it’s to show Durant, ‘Hey, we tried, but we couldn’t get value, so we’re keeping you. Sorry.’”
The Nets called the bluffs of Durant and Kyrie Irving this offseason and ended up keeping both of their All-Star pair. Alas, things can change quickly in the NBA. While there is no drama surrounding the Nets right now, that may not be the case during the regular season.
However, not many people expect that to occur in the coming months. Over at ESPN, a panel of 15 scouts, coaches and executives took part in an offseason survey. One of the questions that were asked was which team Durant would be playing for the day after the trade deadline.
The Nets were the overwhelming option, receiving 13 votes. The Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics each received one vote, which isn’t all too surprising. The Suns were the favorites early on before Deandre Ayton signed an offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers, which Phoenix matched.
Boston put Jaylen Brown on the table, who was the best player made available in trade talks. Negotiations didn’t get too far along as the Nets asked for Marcus Smart or Robert Williams III but the Boston Celtics wouldn’t budge off Brown, Derrick White and draft picks.
“Jaylen Brown is the best player they can get, and I think they’ll have to move him eventually,” a West executive said, explaining why Boston could wind up with Durant.
As for the Phoenix angle, an Eastern Conference scout said, “I just don’t think teams are going to pay what the Nets are asking until Deandre Ayton can be moved, and then once he can, I think Phoenix is the team that had the most interest and the best pathway to get [Durant].”
The Nets have a championship-caliber roster with the moves that were made this offseason to complement Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving returning to the fold. That likely isn’t something they are going to disturb during the regular season unless they are presented with an offer they can’t refuse or things go sideways and they are losing a ton of games.
For the latest surrounding Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics, and Phoenix Suns, check out our NBA news and trade rumors feed.
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