It would help if you removed the Brooklyn Nets’ statement on Tuesday, which said that the team and its unhappy star player “have agreed to move forward with our partnership” after meeting in Los Angeles.
It is the partnership that Durant asked to be broken up a few weeks ago so he could join the team of his choice. The owner, Joe Tsai, was there, along with head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks, who Durant had asked to be fired if he were to stay.
That’s a shocking turn of events for Durant and a massive change from what usually happens at the point when NBA geniuses set expectations, regardless of how crazy they seem at the time.
Power Shift in the NBA
Maybe two of the most prominent examples of players abusing their power were close enough to the Nets that they’d had enough for themselves and, perhaps, for a power shift in the NBA. First, James Harden wanted to leave Houston, and then, ironically, he wanted to leave Brooklyn. He ended up in Philly. Ben Simmons didn’t want to play for the Sixers, so he left and went to Brooklyn, where he hasn’t played a single minute of basketball yet.
Both people got what they were looking for. Nearly every other famous person who was unhappy has done the same thing. Davis, Chris Paul, Butler, Leonard, and others have done it at one time or another.
Now there’s a model for teams that want to get some of the upper hand back. It is mainly because of how rough K.D. was with things. Power is a dangerous weapon if you know how to use it well. If you don’t see what you’re doing, it will rapidly fall into the wrong hands.
When this mess started in July with Durant’s first now-failed request, we said that the Nets should tell him no for several reasons. It is still valid, but things got a lot simpler with Durant on Brooklyn’s side.
Kevin Durant is an Elite Player
It is an elite player with four years left on his agreement. Durant loves to play basketball, so he was much less likely to miss time than Simmons. It’s a passion for him and a big part of why he’s one of the best of all time, so he’s not likely to miss time from the game he loves.
That gave the Nets their first point. It also helped that the Kyrie Irving mess meant the Nets would always try to figure out the Durant situation first and, just as important, would always want a significant return to break up a team with high hopes when Durant and Kyrie are on the same team.
This team didn’t have a single superstar, and no real chance to win a championship, like the Denver Nuggets team Carmelo Anthony left a decade ago. At least on paper, the Nets were a contender, so Marks had to get the proper return to keep his job.
At the point when you have no different choices, you sometimes have a strange kind of freedom. That’s where the Nets’ general manager found himself.
Durant is preparing for NBA Season with the Nets
It is an excellent way for Brooklyn to tell the Grizzlies, Celtics, Suns, Heat, and anyone else who might be interested in K.D. that the price is the price. Brooklyn has used the threat that Durant will stay as a vital and public tool to try to get the deal they want for Durant.
And Durant will also get something. He gets to hoop. He will probably prepare for an NBA season with the Nets, but it could be somewhere else. A (less) distracting training camp and a clear focus on basketball will help him get off to a good start. He likes the game and gets to keep playing it, so that’s something.
But don’t let the news make you forget that Durant lost the very public fight he started in the most general way.