In a report published by Shams Charania of The Athletic, it’s reported that Kevin Durant spent some time speaking with Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai this week. During their meeting, Durant delivered an ultimatum, saying, “Tsai needs to choose between Durant or the pairing of general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash.” Later that same day, Joe Tsai tweeted in support of his front office. This means that the Nets will be looking to trade a top 10 player in the NBA, and likely ruining their chances of winning an NBA Championship anytime in the near future.
In a meeting with Nets owner Joe Tsai, Kevin Durant reiterated his trade request and informed Tsai that Tsai needs to choose between Durant or the pairing of general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash, sources say.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 8, 2022
Why The Brooklyn Nets Shouldn’t Trade Kevin Durant
The Point of Owning a Team
Poll every owner in the NBA. Ask them what they want out of their ownership experience. The vast majority would reply with money, and an NBA Championship. Big market teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, and Chicago Bulls are going to make money regardless of team performance. Mid-market and small-market teams must have a winning team to maximize their earnings. Unfortunately for Joe Tsai, the Nets are not a big market team. Therefore, it’s in his best interest to do whatever it takes to maximize the Nets’ chances of winning a championship.
Trading Kevin Durant is Self Sabotage
The Nets lucked into a superteam in the 2019 offseason, signing both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. This immediately shot the Nets into championship contention, and undoubtedly drew much more attention to the organization. Since then, it’s been a rocky ride, riddled with injuries, drama, and blockbuster trades. All of which peaked in the second round vs the Milwaukee Bucks, losing the series by the wiggle room in Kevin Durant’s shoe. Going into the 2022-23 season, the Nets appear to have their best team yet. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are still on the team, backed up by Ben Simmons, and a mix of experienced vets and young talent eager to prove itself.
Given that Kyrie Irving has been silent since he committed back to the Nets, Kevin Durant is the only one holding onto the tension in Brooklyn. He requests that the duo of Sean Marks and Steve Nash be removed from their positions, which holds some merit. Steve Nash was unimpressive as a head coach this season, which was expected considering his lack of prior coaching experience. Sean Marks however just received a contract extension and has been instrumental in the rise of the Brooklyn Nets from the ashes of the infamous Boston trade. If winning a championship is the goal, compromising with Durant and replacing Nash with a more experienced coach may calm him down for now.
Player Empowerment is Getting Out of Hand
Each year, players continue to test how much power they can exert on their team. We witnessed Zion Williamson attempt to rattle the Pelicans while on a rookie contract, and Ben Simmons simply refuse to play for his team. Now Durant is trying to influence the front office personnel. While the Nets may not have a choice right now if they want to pursue a championship, the new CBA is just around the corner. Either the NBA or the Players Association can opt out of the current agreement before the 2023-24 season. Assuming that one side will opt out, the owners have a chance to limit this type of player power. While he may refuse to trade Kevin Durant, Joe Tsai can use this exact situation as a reference to the unfair amount of power players have if they’re willing to take some flak from the media.
While the Nets’ championship hopes may be in the hands of Kevin Durant right now, upcoming CBA negotiations bring the opportunity to grab some power back from the players.