Can Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets mend fences?
Thu, Aug 4, 2022
NBA News (AP)
Durant requested a trade on June 30, the start of NBA free agency. This came shortly after Kyrie Irving exercised his player option for the 2022-23 NBA season. Can Durant and Tsai see eye-to-eye, getting the 33-year-old to back off his trade request?
Shannon Sharpe said on Undisputed that he believes Tsai is meeting with Durant because the Nets haven't received the trade offers they desire and now view keeping him as their best option.
"It seems Joe Tsai is trying to make peace," Sharpe said. "I think what has happened is the trade market has kind of turned cold. Deandre Ayton re-signing, going to Phoenix, which means basically that Kevin Durant going to Phoenix is basically out. Jaylen Brown proposal, there hadn't been a counteroffer. There hasn't been this bidding war that the Nets expected considering what Rudy Gobert went for.
" ... So I think Joe Tsai wants to sit down with KD: 'KD, bro, we want you, and how do we make it right? How do we make it better? What is it that we need to do as an organization to make sure Kevin Durant is happy, and we can get you what you need in order for you to win a championship?'"
Brooklyn is coming off an eventful season.'
It began with not allowing Irving to play at all amid New York City mandating the COVID-19 vaccine to play in home games. Irving ultimately appeared in a combined 33 contests between the regular season and postseason, after the Nets eventually welcomed him back for road games and city mandates were lifted.
Brooklyn traded James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers at the NBA trade deadline - just one year after acquiring him from the Houston Rockets - for a package headlined by Ben Simmons, who didn't play a game last season due to injury and cited mental health issues. The Nets were swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs as the seventh seed.
This offseason, the Nets have acquired wing Royce O'Neale from the Utah Jazz for a 2023 first-round draft pick, re-signed big man Nic Claxton and guard Patty Mills on two-year deals, and signed forward T.J. Warren on a one-year deal.
Skip Bayless believes that Durant and Tsai will get on the same page in their meeting.
"I think that he will be told and sold on the fact that Kyrie is still there, and you need to mend fences with Kyrie because it's going to be different next year once Ben Simmons is healthy, and that's both mentally and physically healthy and happier," Bayless said.
Durant averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists while shooting 51.8%/38.3%/91.0% last season. He missed his debut season with the Nets (2019-20) due to a torn Achilles tendon, appeared in 35 of a possible 72 games the following year and 55 games last year.