After testing the market and seeing his trade value around the league did not give him the leverage he hoped in a push for a long-term contract extension, Kyrie Irving has settled in on playing with the Nets next season. Irving is not pushing for a trade anymore (in his case, if he has the All-NBA level season he is entirely capable of, he will be a free agent next summer with options).
Even before the Minnesota Timberwolves warped the trade market by flipping five draft assets for Rudy Gobert, several smart people around the league termed the very act of trading Durant “impossible” in conversations with ESPN. There was no way to approximate fair value. A player of Durant’s caliber with so many years locked in had never before become available.
The Nets are probably waiting for Durant’s camp to realize that, and maybe for Durant to retract his trade request. The Nets have not given up on this scenario, sources say.
Durant, whatever fans may think of his movement to different teams, is not someone prone to rash, impulsive decisions. He thinks big things through. None of which is exactly a positive sign for the Nets, but people do change their minds.
Trade talks for Durant have stalled out. There was a rush of initial offers in the early weeks of July — a Jaylen Brown-based offer out of Boston, a Tyler Herro/Duncan Robinson-based one out of Miami, something with Phoenix before Deandre Ayton signed his offer sheet — but none of them rose to the level the Nets think they should get for Durant (especially in a post-Gobert trade world).
From the Nets’ perspective, if Durant and Irving come to camp focused and ready to play, plus Ben Simmons is healthy and willing to accept the right role fitting next to them, this team is a contender. They have solid role players around this group: a healthy Joe Harris, Seth Curry, Patty Mills, Royce O’Neal, Nic Claxton, and on down the line. That Nets roster is a threat to win it all.
Winning cures all ills. At least that’s the hope of Joe Tsai and Sean Marks (the Nets owner and GM) when they look at their options.
Of course, life rarely works out that cleanly. And the Nets instead could be headed for a messy training camp in September.
But expect trade talks for Durant (and Irving, and the Jazz with Donovan Mitchell for that matter) to start to heat up again as we get late into August and close to the start of camps. Right now, with a lot of time before the season tips off in late September, teams do not feel the pressure to make a move.
So the Nets are left hoping Durant reconsiders.