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The hostility between Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets may just be getting started.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said Durant’s next step in forcing a trade may be holding out of training camp.
“A week ago, if you had asked me, ‘Will Kevin Durant hold out of training camp if he’s not traded?’ I would have been like, ‘Ehh, I can’t see it.’ Now I can see it. That is what we’re headed toward,” Windhorst said on the Hoop Collective podcast.
Durant told Nets governor Joe Tsai he wanted a trade in late June. The organization has been moving at a glacial pace in the weeks since, setting an understandably massive price tag for the 12-time All-Star.
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Durant met again with Tsai earlier this month and said he wanted coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks fired if the team wanted him back next season. Tsai publicly responded to the report on Twitter, saying he has no plans to acquiesce to Durant’s demands.
Allowing word of such a drastic demand to leak publicly was likely a power play on Durant’s part.
Given the lack of tangible movement on the trade front, Durant’s best avenue to force a move is to make the situation as toxic as possible. Publicly demanding the removal of a general manager and a coach is one of the biggest plays a player has in his hand.
Should the Nets fail to make a trade before camp, Nash and every player on the roster will be forced to answer constant questions about Durant’s desire for the coach’s removal. If Durant shows up, the spotlight will be on every interaction between the player and coach. If he holds out, Durant will be the focus in a different way.
Regardless, the situation will be a circus. After the complete mess that was the 2021-22 season in Brooklyn, it’s likely every member of upper management wants a more harmonious group next season.
Durant seems determined to make that as difficult as possible. It’s a strategy that’s going to invite significant public scorn, but it may be his best bet at getting out of Brooklyn before the season begins.