At some point, a team was bound to push back in the NBA. With stars continuing to gain more and more power around the league, trade demands have become so common, that we're practically numb to them at this point.
It's become just a fill-in-the-blank topic every offseason, with new names wanting a breakup.
Kevin Durant made it clear he wanted out of Brooklyn. You know, the place he couldn't wait to team up with Kyrie Irving after leaving the most stable and successful franchise in the NBA. Just like in Golden State, KD changed his mind again, found something that made him pout, and decided he wants to go to Phoenix, or Miami, or Boston, or wherever he thinks the grass is greener this week.
Instead of just bending the knee and giving in though, the Nets have stood their ground, not willing to just accept any old trade and start another rebuild.
Instead, they want a ton in return (maybe too much), while their owner, Joe Tsai just voiced his support for the front office and coaching staff after Durant told Tsai he had to pick between him and the team's general manager and coach, Sean Marks, and Steve Nash.
The team won't be pushed around, and the rest of the NBA is watching.
The Nets saw their title odds change drastically when Durant asked out, falling as far as 40-1 at some books. Now though, as the process has dragged on, you can find them at +1600 on BetMGM (+750 to win the East), with it feeling more and more likely Durant is on the roster when the season starts.
To make things more complicated, Monday we had turned out to be NBA Twitter just running with something that wasn't true, with reports Durant would consider retiring if he wasn't traded, something he himself and NBA reporter Marc Stein both refuted.
The Grass Isn't Always Greener
Daryl Morey pushed back in Philly with the Ben Simmons demand but ended up finding a trade before the deadline that worked for him. Now, the Nets feel like they're not just pushing back, but ready for an all-out public PR brawl with their star.
Durant has four years left on his deal, and the Nets aren't willing to enter a sudden rebuild just because he's pouting again.
Kyrie has already reportedly made it clear he's fine sticking around, even if Durant is gone. If Durant is smart, he'll realize this is his best chance to win another title, given the depth and talent that's around him.
Anywhere else he's putting on the uniform of a watered-down roster, with likely no shot at competing. But in Brooklyn, they at least have the pieces to truly contend.
Personalities and egos getting in the way though is all too common, not just in the NBA, but in life. This time though, it feels like we have a true stand-off going on between team and disgruntled star, and it may have a long way to go before it's resolved.