For weeks, the Nets' future revolved around the unpredictable nature of Kyrie Irving. Then Kyrie opted into his player option, the Nets were off the main page, and we turned our attention to the Jalen Brunson sweepstakes (which is funny because it's obvious for a while now he is going to the Knicks.) Enter stage, Kevin Wayne Durant.
Where did this come from?
No one would've been surprised if Durant had asked for a trade in the eventually of Kyrie leaving Brooklyn. KD has been publicly loyal to his friend, the artist Kai, to a fault. Speculation about possible landing sports have already started to circle the league. But once Kyrie committed to one more year in Brooklyn, the issue seemed resolved. The Nets will run it back one more year, and then figure stuff out.
How does one interpret this move? Well, if history teaches us anything, trying to interpret Kevin Durant's thinking is tricky business. The first thought that comes to mind is that he must be a combination of realizing Kyrie isn't a reliable partner for a championship-level team, and that probably, more importantly, the Nets don't have enough even if Kyrie decides to play basketball during the NBA season.
According to early reports, Durant named two teams on his wishlist. The Miami Heat and the Phoenix Suns. How much the Nets will accommodate Durant is yet to be seen. Teams had to do so in recent history because superstars would regularly sign 1+1 or 2+1 deals, constantly having the upper hand.
Durant has 4 years left on his deal, which means the team that trades for him doesn't have to worry that he'll just leave at the end of '22/'23. As much as no one wants a disgruntled superstar on their roster, this gives the Nets a lot more room to find the offer that makes the most sense for the organization, which is about to experience the mother of all blowups. They have made it known everyone on the roster is available.
The Nets will surely expect the largest package in NBA history. They need to avoid a very familiar KG-Pierce scenario and recuperate draft capital that was spent in the Harden trade. They will also ask for young players with a lot of upside. Phoenix and Miami have good players to offer, but can they beat the competition?