Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant has hit out amid a suggestion he would rather retire than play another game for the franchise.
Durant requested a trade in June and has since reportedly told Nets owner Joseph Tsai that he needs to choose between the 12-time All-Star and the pairing of head coach Steve Nash and GM Sean Marks.
But even that demand seems to have done little to speed up a potential trade, with the first practices for the new season just over a month away.
So, will Durant end up back in Brooklyn, even if it means sitting out part of the season in an attempt to get his way?
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Well, the latest report from NBA insider Marc Stein certainly seems to indicate that is unlikely, at least if Durant gets his way.
Stein wrote in his Substack that “one of the most well-connected team executives” told him during Summer League that Durant “was more apt to retire than play again” for Brooklyn.
“I told the tipster that I simply couldn’t believe that,” Stein added.
“I was a loyal subscriber to the theory that Durant The Hooper loves playing basketball way too much to adopt such a stance. Now? More than a month later?
“Attaching the R-word to Durant still comes across as serious hyperbole, but it is certainly getting easier to envision him refusing to report to training camp when the Nets get back together in six weeks for Media Day (Sept. 26) and their first practices of the new season (Sept. 27).”
Now, Stein was not claiming that Durant is going to retire, he was simply just using it as an anecdote to jump into reporting on the latest at Brooklyn.
But of course, even the mention of the word ‘retire’ sent the NBA world into a spin, to the extent that Durant had to respond.
“I know most people will believe unnamed sources over me but if it’s anyone out there that’ll listen, I don’t plan on retiring anytime soon. S*** is comical at this point,” he wrote on Twitter.
In reality, it remains unclear where Durant could end up next season, with ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reporting on Tuesday that the Nets superstar is no closer to getting his way.
“Ten days ago, Kevin Durant and Joe Tsai met in London. Durant really tried to apply the pressure by asking for Steve Nash and Sean Marks to get fired. And guess what has happened? Nothing. Nothing has happened,” Windhorst said on ESPN’s ‘Get Up’.
“The dynamic around Kevin Durant hasn’t changed at all. There hasn’t been an urgency in trade talks. There hasn’t been a change in strategy by the Brooklyn Nets.”
Instead, Windhorst said that what is unfolding this off-season can be best used as a “study of leverage”.
“First off, the Nets do not have leverage in trade talks with other teams,” he said.
“They are not giving them the offers that they want. They see no reason to increase them. And so they’re not making any progress there. And Kevin Durant clearly does not have leverage with the Brooklyn Nets.
“He is asking for things: ‘Get me traded. Fire the coach. Fire the GM.’ He is being told no. So when you have denied leverage, you have a stalemate.”