Kevin Durant has cleared up swirling speculation that he’s willing to quit basketball altogether in lieu of donning a Nets uniform this season.
A unnamed, but apparently “well connected” NBA The team manager told longtime NBA insider Marc Stein, Durant is “more likely to retire than play for the Brooklyn Nets again.”
Naturally, the NBA universe torpedoed the topic into virality, forcing the two-time Finals MVP to deny the claims.
“S*** is comical at this point,” Durant wrote on Twitter Monday night.
“I know most people will believe anonymous sources about me, but if anyone is listening, I don’t plan on retiring anytime soon.”
Monday’s report comes after Durant repeated his trade demands to team owner Joseph Tsai in London two weeks earlier. As Shams Charania of The Athletic reported at the time, Durant said he would stay if Tsai was willing to fire head coach and former NBA star Steve Nash as well as general manager Sean Marks. .
Kevin Durant took to social media to denounce reports made earlier today by Marc Stein
Durant (seen posting on Boston’s Jaylen Brown) and the Nets remain at an impasse over his trade request, but there could be a new level of urgency: An unnamed NBA team executive believes the former league MVP is more likely to retire than play for Brooklyn again
Tsai has since responded with a public statement, expressing her support for both Nash and Marks.
Team spokespersons and Durant’s publicists did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s email requests for comment.
Not much has changed between the two teams since that meeting in London, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
“Durant really tried to apply pressure by asking Steve Nash and Sean Marks to get fired,” Windhorst said Monday on ESPN. “And guess what happened? Nothing. Nothing happened.’
Windhorst thinks the Nets aren’t seeing the offers they want for Durant because they don’t have any leverage if he’s willing to sit out.
“I think what we have here is really a study of leverage,” Windhorst said. “First of all, the Nets have no leverage in trade negotiations with other teams. They don’t make them the offers they want. They don’t see any reason to raise them. So they don’t make no progress there.
Likewise, Durant doesn’t have much influence as he’s under contract.
“Kevin Durant clearly has no leverage with the Brooklyn Nets,” Windhorst added. ‘He asks for things: ”Make me trade. Fire the coach. Fire the GM.” He’s told no. So, when you’ve declined leverage, you’re in a bind.
Monday’s report comes after Durant reiterated his trade demands of team owner Joseph Tsai (right) in London two weeks ago. As Shams Charania of The Athletic reported at the time, Durant said he would stay if Tsai was willing to fire head coach and former NBA star Steve Nash (far right) as well as general manager Sean Marks (left).
Kyrie Irving’s days in Brooklyn may be numbered despite the All-Star guard’s previous statements assuring Nets fans he’s “not planning to go anywhere.” Irving (left) joined the Nets in 2019 along with Kevin Durant (right) but the two fell short of expectations in Brooklyn
The specific reasons for Durant’s displeasure remain unclear, at least publicly, but Charania reported last week that the Nets had “direct knowledge” of the details. Durant has already been blamed by some for the exit of former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, who mutually parted ways with the organization in 2020, although it’s unclear if he played a role. in this decision.
Durant’s Nets were swept in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs last season by the Boston Celtics, who have since reportedly offered All-Star Jaylen Brown in exchange for the disgruntled superstar forward from Brooklyn.
The Nets, meanwhile, have requested both Brown and All-Star Jayson Tatum, according to the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach.
Durant still has $198 million and four years remaining on his contract, while Brown has two seasons and $56 million on his.
Durant’s future in Brooklyn has been complicated by the situation with current Nets teammate Kyrie Irving, who opted out the final year and $37 million of his contract to stay with the team, but rumor has it that he is pushing for his own exit.
Crosstown rival New York Knicks as well as the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers, as well as the Philadelphia 76ers are interested in acquiring Irving, according to various reports.
Celtics star Jayson Tatum told reporters last month that he wants the core of the defending Eastern Conference champions to remain intact.
“I played with him in the Olympics,” Tatum said when asked about Durant. “Obviously he’s a great player. But it’s not my decision. I love our team. I love the guys we have.
(Left to right) Nets general manager Sean Marks, Clara Wu Tsai, wife of Joe Tsai, Nets forward Ben Simmons and Nets coach Steve Nash attend the premiere of ‘Unfinished Business’ at the Tribeca Festival 2022 at BMCC Tribeca PAC on June 13
Brown did not comment directly on the report, but tweeted “SMH” – short for “shake your head”.
While reported interest from the Celtics only surfaced in late July, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Boston’s front office, led by Brad Stevens, had been in regular contact with the Nets general manager. Sean Marks for weeks before. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has since reported that the Nets are not actively engaged in any trade discussions regarding Durant.
Brown reacted to the trade rumor by writing ‘SMH’, which stands for ‘shake your head’
A potential obstacle to a deal is the Nets’ asking price for Durant, 33, who was tied for third in the NBA in scoring last season at 29.9 points per game.
According to Woj, the Nets want multiple unprotected first-round picks, pick trades and multiple hard-hitting players.
The request is somewhat similar to the trade that brought Brown to Boston: Brooklyn’s 2013 acquisition of Celtics stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
The Nets, under then-general manager Billy King, gave up unprotected first-round picks in 2014, 2016, and 2018, along with additional pick trades, which allowed the Celtics to draft Brown and Tatum in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Brooklyn, meanwhile, managed a second-round playoff appearance in Pierce’s only season with the Nets.