Joe Tsai, the proprietor of the Nets, issued a press release of help for the group’s entrance workplace and training workers on Twitter Monday night and added, “We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”
The tweet gave the impression to be in response to a report from The Athletic that stated the group’s star ahead, Kevin Durant, was nonetheless insistent that the Nets meet a commerce demand he made in June. Durant, one of many N.B.A.’s greatest gamers, met with Tsai in individual over the weekend, The Athletic reported, and conditioned his staying with the group on the elimination of Coach Steve Nash and Normal Supervisor Sean Marks. (Durant beforehand had publicly lauded Nash, who simply accomplished his second yr because the Nets’ coach, saying within the spring that the coach had dealt with the Nets “perfectly.”)
The Nets didn’t reply to a request for remark, and a spokesman for Durant’s firm, Boardroom, declined to remark.
Tsai’s Twitter put up was an uncommon escalation of a simmering feud between Durant, 33, and the Nets. Tsai has not often weighed in on basketball issues publicly, and only one yr in the past Durant gave the impression to be fortunately married to the Nets, having agreed to a four-year contract extension with the group he had signed with in the summertime of 2019.
However a lot of Durant’s three seasons with the Nets haven’t gone in line with plan and have been marked by tumult.
Durant, whereas recovering from an Achilles’ tendon harm, signed with the franchise alongside together with his pals, the star level guard Kyrie Irving and the veteran middle DeAndre Jordan. Through the 2020-21 season, the Nets traded lots of their younger gamers, together with a number of draft picks, to Houston for James Harden, seemingly assembling one of the vital fearsome star teams in N.B.A. historical past.
However accidents saved the three stars from seeing the courtroom fairly often. They performed solely 16 video games collectively and had a dominant record of 13-3. Within the 2021 playoffs, the Nets misplaced within the second spherical to the Milwaukee Bucks, the eventual champions.
Final season, the Nets had been as soon as once more optimistic that they’d dwell as much as their lofty expectations. However Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated in opposition to Covid-19 meant that he couldn’t play in house video games till later within the season due to a New York Metropolis rule that was finally lifted. A pissed off Harden requested the Nets for a commerce, and the Nets despatched him to the division rival Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons. And as soon as once more, Durant, in addition to different gamers on the group, handled accidents, forcing Nash to push rookies into sudden roles.
The Nets hit all-time low within the playoffs, the place they had been swept within the first spherical by the Boston Celtics, an embarrassing end result for a group that — on paper — one of the vital proficient groups of the last decade.
Durant’s commerce request was a bombshell that shocked many league observers. For one factor, the Nets had been projected to enter coaching camp with a formidable roster that embrace Simmons, a three-time All-Star, and Irving, who opted into the ultimate yr of his contract. However a participant of Durant’s caliber has nearly by no means made a commerce request like this with 4 years left on his contract.
Durant’s commerce worth, regardless of his résumé, is unsure, partially due to how uncommon his request is and likewise due to Durant himself. In three years with the Nets, he performed 90 common season video games of a potential 236 due to accidents. He might be coming into his sixteenth season, a stage by which most gamers are already in steep decline. However when Durant has performed, he has principally regarded like he all the time has: a generational expertise.
Durant’s expertise makes him a tantalizing threat for a group trying to put itself excessive, not the least of which is that when a group trades for him, he may not need to keep.