In many ways, last season was very much one to forget for the Brooklyn Nets as they limped out of the NBA title race in the first round of the play-offs and the disappoints of their overall displays were in danger of spilling into the next campaign with big questions surrounding the futures of two key players, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
In relation to Durant, there was growing talk that he had been unhappy with both coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Douglas and that a possible exit was on the cards.
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As for Durant’s mood and potential push to leave the Nets, well, according to Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones, there isn’t much to the speculation that has been rampant in recent weeks;
“It’s always a great topic of discussion, but the one thing people forget is that when you’re talking about trades or any player acquisition, the team that has the player has to be willing to move the player,”
“We had discussions with Brooklyn about their desires and what they were trying to do, but ultimately, I would say, like most teams, there was nothing to it.”
Some sources believed that the issues between Durant and the Nets were very real and could have led to the 12-time NBA All-Star pick leaving Brooklyn, but that now seems to be water under the bridge.
The Nets were said to have demanded a great deal in return for Durant in any prospective trade, and that scared off apparent interest. At this point, the 33-year-old could have dug his heels in and pushed the situation, but he seemingly had a change of heart and now is fully on board.
Indeed the talk of the specifics of a possible trade may have been fueled by the Nets refusing to extend Kyrie Irving’s contract, which is said to have upset Durant and left his team-mate forced to pick up the option for next season.
The whole back and forth between the Nets and Durant was more than just a little unedifying and even led to NBA commissioner Adam Silver commenting on the situation with trades as a whole;
“This needs to be a two-way street,”
“Teams provide enormous security and guarantees to players, and the expectation is, in return, they will meet their end of the bargain. I’m realistic that there are always conversations that are going to go on behind closed doors between players and their representatives and the teams. But we don’t like to see players requesting trades, and we don’t like to see it playing out the way it is.”
As for Durant, Marks, and Douglas, they are probably all eager to just move on. Last season the Nets pretty much self-imploded and didn’t perform anywhere near as well as they should have, and 2022/23 offers all parties the chance to up their game and secure a finish that better illustrates the obvious talent in Brooklyn’s set-up.