As the first full week of July progresses, it seems like the entire NBA is watching and waiting for the Brooklyn Nets to resolve what has become an untenable situation.
Last week, Kevin Durant asked to be traded, while Kyrie Irving made it clear he wants to force his way to the Los Angeles Lakers, prompting the Nets to talk to the Purple and Gold about a potential trade.
The most likely suitors in a potential Durant trade appear to be the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat, with the Toronto Raptors emerging as another interested trade partner in recent days.
Many feel the Nets just won’t want to risk having two disgruntled stars, or even one, on their roster once training camp starts at the end of the summer.
But what if Durant doesn’t really want to be traded?
What if he is simply trying to strong-arm Brooklyn into giving him some kind of leverage?
The Nets’ Superteam Experiment Has Failed
For most of their NBA existence, the Nets, whether they have been based in Brooklyn or the suburbs in North Jersey, have been largely irrelevant.
But that all changed when Durant and Irving joined them three years ago.
Suddenly, many proclaimed them the NBA’s next great team, and many across the New York City metropolitan area expected them to win the world championship.
When the Nets added former league MVP James Harden early in the 2020-21 campaign, those feelings only intensified.
They narrowly lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2021 to the Milwaukee Bucks, but it wasn’t considered a failure, as Irving was out due to injury and Harden was playing through a hamstring ailment.
But this past season was a failure, as Irving was forced to miss many weeks after he refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and Durant missed time with a knee injury.
The Nets’ overall situation was thrown into even more chaos when they traded Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons, who has yet to suit up for his new team.
Brooklyn got swept in the first round of the playoffs as Durant was made to look old and washed up by the Boston Celtics.
Whatever happens, some numbers that shouldn't be forgot:
–Nets won 44 games last year and were swept.
–Kevin Durant played 90 games in three years.
–Kyrie Irving played 103 games in three years.
–KD and Kyrie played 58 games together in three years out of possible 226.
— NetsDaily (@NetsDaily) July 2, 2022
What Could Durant Really Want?
Reportedly, Durant wants out because he doesn’t like the culture and environment the Nets have.
There have also been reports that he still wants to play with Irving, just on a different team.
"It's certainly a possibility. The team has to want both of them… They want to continue to play together, but the sense is they don't want to do it together in Brooklyn anymore."
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 30, 2022
But is it possible that Durant is simply threatening the Nets because he wants something more from them?
If that’s true, it’s hard to decipher what that something more could be.
Is he unhappy that Irving wants to leave?
Is he unhappy that Harden was traded for Simmons, a talented player who appears to be incredibly mentally weak and has just had back surgery, not to mention his on-the-court flaws?
Does he want tons of sway over team personnel decisions in general?
Durant is an all-time great and a generational talent, but his reputation has tanked since he has asked out of Brooklyn.
He already came under massive fire for signing with the Golden State Warriors in 2016 after they had won a league-record 73 games, only to leave them three years later.
Many are using him as the poster boy for the modern self-entitled NBA superstar who, according to such naysayers, holds his team hostage instead of having a collaborative attitude and relationship with his team.NEXT: The Nets Continue To Add Former Pacers This Summer