Even though Kevin Durant was brought in and max extended by GM Sean Marks, even though Marks consulted and gave Durant a stake in every move the Nets made — including pushing Kenny Atkinson out the door and hiring Steve Nash as coach — Durant gave Nets owner Joe Tsai an ultimatum: Me or Marks and Nash.
A source close to the Nets organization indicated Durant is not the only Nets star unhappy with the team’s leadership.
“Kyrie Irving hates these guys,” the source said. “He feels that Nash is terrible and Marks is bad.”
“KD came to the same conclusion,” the source added.
Irving and Durant remain tight. Does it surprise anyone that if one is unhappy, the other is unhappy? That’s how we all are with our close friends.
While we can debate the merits of Marks and Nash and the job they have done (Nash, in particular, has some around the NBA questioning if he is right for this job), most of Durant and Irving’s dissatisfaction appears to stem from the fact Marks would not give the unreliable Irving a long-term contract extension. After the drama around Irving and missed games the past couple of seasons — including his decision not to get vaccinated and with that miss much of last NBA season due to the vaccine mandate in New York City — Marks (and, no doubt Tsai) decided they were not going to max out Irving long term. Irving went looking for another team that would offer him a contract to force the Nets’ hand and found only the Lakers offering a Russell Westbrook trade that didn’t appeal to Brooklyn.
Irving was frustrated, and by extension his close friend Durant was frustrated, and things spiraled from there.
Irving and Durant can be as discontent and potentially resentful as they want, it doesn’t change the fact there is no movement on the trade front for either of them. After Durant’s latest trade demand, the teams interested in him will not up their offers (this public move robbed the Nets of leverage). The trade market for Irving remains singular — it’s still just the Lakers. Which is why the talk of Irving returning and playing out the season with the Nets — he knows he needs to get on the court and perform at the All-NBA levels he is fully capable of to build up his market.
With camps not opening until Sept. 27, teams have little pressure to get anything done right now. That pressure will ramp up next month and camps get closer than open (with or without Durant showing up to Brooklyn’s), but right now, while there is a lot of talk on social and traditional media about Durant and Irving, there isn’t a lot of conversation around the league. So this is still going to drag out for a while.