Nets Owner Backs Team Leaders Amid Durant’s Reported Ultimatum

Joe Tsai, the proprietor of the Nets, issued a press release of help for the staff’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 seemed to be in response to a report from The Athletic that mentioned the staff’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 finest gamers, met with Tsai in individual over the weekend, The Athletic reported, and conditioned his staying with the staff on the elimination of Coach Steve Nash and General Manager Sean Marks. (Durant beforehand had publicly lauded Nash, who simply accomplished his second 12 months 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 submit was an uncommon escalation of a simmering feud between Durant, 33, and the Nets. Tsai has hardly ever weighed in on basketball issues publicly, and only one 12 months in the past Durant seemed to be fortunately married to the Nets, having agreed to a four-year contract extension with the staff he had signed with in the summertime of 2019.

But a lot of Durant’s three seasons with the Nets haven’t gone in keeping with plan and have been marked by tumult.

Durant, whereas recovering from an Achilles’ tendon harm, signed with the franchise alongside along with his pals, the star level guard Kyrie Irving and the veteran middle DeAndre Jordan. During 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 probably the most fearsome star teams in N.B.A. historical past.

But accidents saved the three stars from seeing the court docket fairly often. They performed solely 16 video games collectively and had a dominant report of 13-3. In the 2021 playoffs, the Nets misplaced within the second spherical to the Milwaukee Bucks, the eventual champions.

Last season, the Nets had been as soon as once more optimistic that they might reside as much as their lofty expectations. But Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated towards Covid-19 meant that he couldn’t play in residence video games till later within the season due to a New York City rule that was ultimately 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 staff, handled accidents, forcing Nash to push rookies into surprising 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 consequence for a staff that — on paper — probably the most gifted 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 12 months of his contract. But 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 doable 236 due to accidents. He will likely be coming into his sixteenth season, a stage by which most gamers are already in steep decline. But when Durant has performed, he has largely regarded like he all the time has: a generational expertise.

Durant’s expertise makes him a tantalizing danger for a staff seeking to put itself excessive, not the least of which is that when a staff trades for him, he may not wish to keep.

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