Is Clippers executive Jerry West piling on?
West, via SiriusXM NBA Radio:
For him to want out, I can see why. I can see why. But, again, wherever he goes – or to my best guess, he’s not going to get traded. You can’t give enough to get a guy like him.
“I can see why” sounds harsh. The reasons Durant wants a trade remain difficult to grasp. But the situation reaching this point is certainly a failure by the Nets, who were tasked with – no matter how difficult it was – keeping Durant happy enough to contribute to a winner. The Warriors – who employed West while Durant was in Golden State – did much better. For a while, at least.
West is willing to trash poorly run teams, though. However, publicly is different.
Speaking of publicly.… is this tampering?
The Clippers want the Nets to keep Durant. Unless offering Kawhi Leonard (not happening) or Paul George (and maybe not even then), the Clippers lack the assets to get Durant. Better for the Clippers if Durant stays in Brooklyn, where the team is in disarray. On another team – especially a Western Conference team like the Suns – Durant would pose a bigger threat to L.A.
The NBA constitution prohibits team employees from interfering with the employer-employee relationship of a player under contract with another team. Durant is obviously under contract with the Nets.
Whether West crossed the line is open to interpretation. This definitely isn’t a clear-cut case of tampering. But West seems to get away with saying whatever he wants, anyway.