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Kevin Durant Has Given Brooklyn Nets Ownership An Ultimatum

Kevin Durant
(Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

Kevin Durant Is Not Mincing Words With Joe Tsai

Kevin Durant has clarified his stance with the Brooklyn Nets. In a meeting with ownership, Durant told Joe Tsai that he could either keep him or the duo of coach Steve Nash and GM Sean Marks. Shams Charania has delivered yet another bombshell in this complex superstar saga:

While it is unclear how much the relationship would improve if replacements for Nash and Marks were found, it is still a significant development. It is worth noting that KD’s trade request still stands despite a virtual standstill in the market. Even more alarming is that a decision must be made soon. With Opening Night less than two months away, the ball is figuratively in Joe Tsai’s court. Does he remain with the power structure in place for the past few years? Or does he want to run it back with this core one more time? It is quite the pickle. And with co-star Kyrie Irving set to become a free agent in 2023, the clock is running. Regardless of his choice, Tsai could be at the head of one of the most seismic decisions in NBA history.

Kevin Dur-Can’t?

Fans will have the pitchforks and torches ready no matter what happens. However, it would certainly be a bad look on Durant’s part. Failing to get a ring after the two he got in Golden State could really impact his legacy. Furthermore, if the Nets actually go through with trading him, it will undoubtedly be the largest deal in the history of the league. This offseason has already given us a lot to unpack. The closest to anyone of Durant’s caliber getting traded would probably be Kobe Bryant in the mid-2000s. After Shaq left, the Lakers were in disarray and could not get the Black Mamba a quality supporting cast. Despite numerous trade rumors, Kobe stayed in LA and the rest was history.

It is clear that Durant does not have the same relationship with Brooklyn as Kobe did with Los Angeles. But I personally think it’s worth staying around one more year with the Nets. That is, if Ben Simmons can get on the same page, and on the floor. The additions of TJ Warren and Royce O’Neal clearly show the Nets want to be competitive. It’s possible that, if all healthy, the Nets could actually be the fun and deep team we thought they are on paper. However, it helps no one that a large cloud is currently hanging over the franchise.

Next Up In Nets World?

It would be a tough way to end for Sean Marks in Brooklyn. The former Spurs assistant coach spent the last six years in Brooklyn and oversaw an eventful period, to say the least. In 2016, the Nets were a complete disaster. Still reeling from the infamous Paul Pierce trade with the Celtics, the Nets were a rudderless team in a huge market. Without any first-round picks, Marks continued to make savvy deals and hires. This culminated in a surprisingly good 2018-2019 season that saw them make the NBA playoffs. With a young core of D’Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen, and Caris Levert, and coached by the upstart Kenny Atkinson, Brooklyn shocked the world and proved Marks right. By leveraging their salary cap space and making smart draft choices, the Nets turned from a joke to a playoff team in only three years.

The high continued into the Summer of 2019. Despite losing the All-Star Russell, Marks reeled in both Irving and Durant in free agency. Despite a funky first year with KD sitting out the whole time and COVID-19 starting, things finally took off in 2020-2021. With rookie head coach Steve Nash, the Nets finally looked like the contenders we all thought they would be. However, that wasn’t enough. Marks pushed his chips to the center of the table and traded for James Harden. Despite giving up the fun core that he built from the ground up, the Nets wanted more. This Big 3 looked like a can’t-miss championship. However, it was. With injuries plaguing the Nets for the remainder of the season, the best Brooklyn could do was lose in 7 to Milwaukee in the second round.

Gravity: What Goes Up Must Come Down

Things really fell off the rails, bringing us to where we are today. The vaccine mandate kept Kyrie off the floor for half the season, Harden was traded out of Brooklyn, and the Nets were swept in the first round by who else but the Celtics. Despite being the owner for roughly three years, Joe Tsai’s work is now cut out for him. Kevin Durant is not happy. And either a trade or a clean sweep of the current regime will help fix things. While I want him to try, I objectively don’t think he’ll suit up for Brooklyn again. Regardless, I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens next.

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