Monday, September 25, 2023
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Kevin Durant starts season 0-1 to bring title to Brooklyn Nets

Kevin Durant lost.

That was the gist of a statement from the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, announcing that the organization and its disgruntled superstar were in Los Angeles between the teams.

This is the partnership that Durant requested a few weeks ago to dissolve so he could be sent to the team of his choice. It was a meeting where head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks were the two people that owners Joe Tsai and Durant called for firing . .


Now, the would-be divorcees claim they are “focused on basketball and have a common goal: build a lasting team to win a championship and go to Brooklyn.”

It was a stunning fall for Durant, and the normal course of things changed dramatically when NBA superstars asked, no matter how far-fetched they seemed at the time.

Perhaps the two most glaring examples of player power out of control are close enough for the Nets that they’ve finally had enough — for themselves, maybe now, in a power shift across the board NBA. First is James Harden wanting to leave Houston, then, ironically, Brooklyn and finally land in Philadelphia. Second, Ben Simmons refused to play for the Sixers and went to Brooklyn, where…he still hasn’t played a minute of basketball.

Both players got what they wanted. The same goes for nearly every other superstar when they’re not happy — at one time or another the list included Anthony Davis, Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard and others.

There is now precedent for teams trying to salvage some of the upper hand, a move made possible in large part by KD’s rude way of doing things. Using power wisely is a powerful weapon because if you don’t know how to manage it, you may suddenly find it in someone else’s hands.

Going back to July when Durant first had this mess for the first time and now the ultimatum failed, we think the Nets should simply tell for various reasons he does not. It’s the same now as it was then, but Durant did make it easy for Brooklyn.

This is a world class player with four years left on his contract and he is always much less likely to miss time than Simmons because as anyone in the NBA will tell you, Du Rand likes to play basketball. It’s a passion, a laudable key component of one of the greatest in his history, and he’ll never willingly miss time on the game he loves.

This is the number one favored by the Nets. The Kyrie Irving fiasco also helps, meaning the Nets will always address Durant first, and – just as importantly – will require a ton of returns to dismantle a pairing of Durant and Kyrie. The team that came with high hopes.

This is not a team with only superstars and no real championship road, like the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony forced his way out a decade ago. The Nets are a contender, at least on paper, which means Max has to get the payoff right to keep his job.

Sometimes, when you have no choice, you have a strange feeling of freedom. That’s where the Nets general manager found himself.

All of this was lost on Durant when he ill-advised travelled to London and told Tsai that the boss had to choose between him and Nash and Max. Here’s a good rule of life: don’t try to arm billionaires hard.

Then, still not seeing the situation clearly, Durant or the people around him obviously leaked the ultimatum and tried to pressure Tsai Ing-wen to yield. The second rule to follow is closely related to the first: Don’t try to publicly pressure billionaires after their private hard-line tactics have failed.

Now, both sides do get something other than the farce that leads us to believe they’re trying to sell. While Durant could still be the Nets this season, it’s not a lock, and with this arrangement, both sides can win something from the other.

This sentence is the perfect way for Brooklyn to tell the Grizzlies, the Celtics, the Suns, the Heat, and any other potential suitors who dream of acquiring KD, that the price is the price. Brooklyn has used these teams openly and forcefully, using the best tools they can to get Durant the deal they want — the threat he’ll stay.

Durant is your way to do it.

Durant got something too. He started laying up. He’s starting to prepare for an NBA season, most likely with the Nets, but perhaps elsewhere, where a (less) distracting training camp and a clear focus on basketball are the keys to a solid start. He loves the game and he can keep playing, which is important.

But don’t let this news obscure the fact that Durant lost the public fight he started in the most public. method.

The coach he asked to fire is still his coach. The general manager he asked to fire remains in charge. The team he refused to join, still retains his services. And his team owners who watch muscles show him what brutal power is like.



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