After a tough and brutal campaign, Kevin Durant decided he’d had enough of the Nets and wanted to try something new. He sent his trade request to team owner Joe Tsai and watched as chaos erupted across the league.
But with summer almost over, Durant was forced to withdraw his trade claim (for now) and it looks like both superstars will return for another season with the Nets.
In response to recent events, NBA insider David Aldridge updated his offseason ratings, putting the Nets at No. 17 after managing to hold the core together.
(via The Athletic):
With the caveat that no one should be surprised if GM Sean Marks or trainer Steve Nash are conceded at any point next season, or Durant ends up with a new address, for now an uneasy truce has crushed his trade request. Brooklyn can at least start the season hoping it can bring its disparate (originally autocorrected to “distressed,” which might be more accurate) parties together. It’s hard to imagine given the strong personalities involved. We all know that KD and Kyrie go their separate ways, but majority owner Joseph Tsai is no dwindling flower himself. And Tsai basically dismissed any notion that the Nets would give Durant away, if at all, for pennies on the dollar. So I can’t just pretend that the last six weeks didn’t happen and that there wasn’t at least some damage to very important internal relationships.
Can Nash Durant or Irving coach hard knowing that a three-game losing streak will likely put him in the hottest spot of all time? Would the Nets trade a dime if they found a team willing to meet their asking price for Durant? As mentioned in my pre-Kumbaya review of Brooklyn’s offseason, the Nets didn’t do badly in rebuilding the roster, adding Warren and O’Neale. But Warren’s recent injury history complicates some of that enthusiasm. And as previously mentioned, Simmons and Harris each missed the entire 21-22 season, and Curry went into rehab this summer. So whatever their level of fitness, they’ll need some time to shake off the rust. For all of these reasons, I can’t say the Nets had a top 10 offseason. But knowing that they have at least a minimal buy-in for the season from their two superstars must push them up from their previous position.
At the start of the summer, no one was sure if the Nets would end up retaining KD and Kyrie. Given all the drama they caused, many were convinced a swap was inevitable and they would have to resort to a complete rebuild involving Ben Simmons and Picks.
For now, the Nets have managed to avoid this by making Durant stubborn and refusing to give up trying to make it work with him. They deserve credit for avoiding collapse, even if they only delayed the inevitable.