Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets are running back.
In a statement released Tuesday, Nets general manager Sean Marks said the former MVP and two-time NBA champion will remain with the franchise, having originally requested a trade on June 30.
“[Coach] Steve Nash and I, along with [governors] Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai met with Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman in Los Angeles yesterday,” Marks said. “We have agreed to move forward with our partnership. We’re focused on basketball with a common goal in mind: build a lasting franchise to bring a championship to Brooklyn.”
Where does the news leave Durant, Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn and the Eastern Conference? Are the Nets the new favorites over East Juggernauts like the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks?
And what’s in store for KD, Kyrie and Brooklyn Furthermore the 2022/23 season?
Our NBA insiders break down every angle of another twist in the Durant-Nets summer saga.
MORE: How KD’s recent decision affects the NBA Power Rankings
1. What’s your biggest takeaway from KD’s decision to stay in Brooklyn?
Tim Bontemps: This is an acknowledgment of the reality of the situation. Durant is under contract for another four years. Nobody comes close to giving Brooklyn what it wants. The two choices Durant had was either play or try to hold out. This is the only logical option for both sides.
Yamal Collier: Well that was a fun waste of time. While this outcome has felt inevitable for a while, I’m still skeptical about the longevity of this partnership. Everyone may be on the same page right now, but I don’t think we’re headed for a redemption story like Kobe Bryant and the Lakers did in 2007.
Nick Friedell: The drama never stops at the Nets – they put Durant’s boardroom logo on the press release! The big question I have after seeing the statement is: How long will this last? They were a miserable team at times last season and now can they rebuild their culture as training camp approaches? That would be a stretch.
Andrew Lopez: The market hasn’t developed the way anyone wanted it to. At first, it seemed Brooklyn might win one of the NBA’s greats. Instead, teams weren’t even willing to bet theirs second best Assets on the table to land KD.
Bobby Marks: This is not surprising. The nets waited for a perfect trade package that never came. The enduring question was whether Durant would hold out and become a distraction during training camp. That was put to bed when both sides wisely ended all trade speculation.
2. Fill in the blank: The biggest loser in the Durant saga is _____?
Necklace: durant We so seldom see anyone rejecting such a public trade request. Over the past few years, with one of the game’s greatest players at the top of his game, it would be nice to see him battling for championships rather than mired in dysfunction. This “result” feels like it will only add more drama.
Bontemps: durant I’m sure he didn’t anticipate the Nets not getting the kind of offers needed to close a deal. But they didn’t, his image took a hit and he didn’t get what he wanted. The networks, on the other hand, are big winners because they only have him in the team.
Tags: The champions of the Eastern Conference. The Celtics were having a relatively uneventful offseason when they were linked with Durant in late July. Now Boston has some damage control to do with Jaylen Brown.
Lopez: Among others Jaylen Brown, Mikal Bridges and Pascal Siakam. A number of players have heard her name in trade talks and now everyone has to pretend everything was fine from the start. Of course, teams will act like these players are never really available, but hearing your name floating around for weeks could take a toll.
Friedel: The NBA offseason. The Nets gave a big jolt to a normally quiet period in the sporting calendar. The soap opera that usually surrounds this team carried programming throughout the league for two months. The media will miss all the rumors and rumors that ultimately resulted in no movement.
3. Where are the Nets in the east this season?
Lopez: Even with a part-time Kyrie Irving, Durant playing 55 games, James Harden dealt out by Brooklyn, and Ben Simmons not passing at all, the Nets still won 44 games last season and reached the first round of the playoffs A healthy mix of Irving, Durant and Simmons should be worth a few more wins, certainly enough to challenge for home field advantage in the playoffs.
Friedel: Based on the health of their key players — and most importantly, a drama-free run in the regular season — I think the Nets currently sit third. I don’t think they’re better than the Bucks and Celtics – and I have serious questions about how long that will last before the next internal explosion – but with Durant, Irving and Simmons, they have a core that has the ability to be in the getting better together over time.
Bontemps: Either third or fourth, behind Milwaukee and Boston and level with Philadelphia. Could the nets conquer the East? It’s not impossible. But there are too many questions to ask about the two rock-solid contenders at the top of the conference.
Necklace: I’m still putting Brooklyn a notch below the four conference semifinalists — Boston, Milwaukee, Miami and Philly — because I don’t think the Nets will have a normal year with KD, Kyrie and Ben Simmons on the floor. If they do, they are contenders.
Tags: On paper, the networks in the East should be in the top three. However, paper means nothing when it comes to regular-season games, and Brooklyn should be outside the top 4. The Nets are too wild with Durant, Ben Simmons and soon-to-be free agent Kyrie Irving to trust as conference favorites.
4. Fact or fiction: KD will spend all four years of his remaining contract as Net
Lopez: Fact. It feels like Kobe Bryant’s situation in Los Angeles in 2007. The trade request is eventually withdrawn and everyone tries to move on. When it comes to changes after Brooklyn, it seems like it will come elsewhere on the roster (or on the coaching staff) before Durant’s move.
Bontemps: I’ll state the fact, but who knows how this will play out. With all the drama in Brooklyn over the past few weeks — and years — it’s foolish to make any firm statements about how this will play out through 2026, when Durant’s contract expires.
Tags: Fiction. What if adversity hits this season and Brooklyn struggles? Do we even know if Durant will wear a Nets uniform next offseason?
Friedel: Fiction. After what happened, how could anyone believe that KD will be there for this four more years? The bigger short term question is will he be there for the entire 2022/23 season or will something else happen that will change his mind again?
Necklace: Fiction. I wouldn’t even confidently take that bet if you said four months.
5. Fact or fiction: Kyrie Irving will be with the Nets after the 2023 trade deadline.
Tags: Fact. Barring things really imploding, Irving will be with Brooklyn by mid-February. The big question is whether the Nets will reward Irving with a four-year, $209 million extension before the end of the season.
Bontemps: Fact. With Durant on the roster, Irving isn’t going anywhere this season. There was a lot of ado about Irving’s status in June – remember when the ‘will he or won’t he’ was all about Kyrie? — but now he and Durant are theoretically locked up for this season.
Necklace: Fiction. As soon as one goes, I believe the other will follow. I’m not in the business of ever predicting where Kyrie will be at any given point in time.
Lopez: Fiction: Due to Brooklyn’s lack of draft picks, it could deal with players to try to improve the roster. If Irving wants to leave Brooklyn, doesn’t it make sense to get something for him to improve the current situation?
Friedell: Who knows? Attempting to chronicle Irving’s professional course here is misguided. If I had to bet today, I’d put it “fact” just for the Durant news, but anything can change in an instant.
https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/34447309/kevin-durant-brooklyn-nets-future-holds-sides-kd-rescinds-trade-demand Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets