Kevin Durant Staying With Nets After Seeking Trade (UPDATED)

By Terrance Turner

June 30, 2022 (Aug. 8, 2022)

NBA superstar Kevin Durant is staying in Brooklyn, according to a statement from Nets general manager Sean Marks.

“[Nets Coach] Steve Nash and I, together with [governors] Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai, met with Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman in Los Angeles yesterday,” Marks said in a statement. “We have agreed to move forward with our partnership. We are focusing on basketball, with one collective goal in mind: build a lasting franchise to bring a championship to Brooklyn.”

Durant initially asked for a trade from the Brooklyn Nets on June 30, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Nets general manager Sean Marks was working with Durant and his business manager Rich Kleiman on finding a trade, Kleiman told ESPN. The news came just days after Durant’s teammate Kyrie Irving opted in to his $36 million player option, securing his commitment to the team for the 2022-23 season. And it came just a year after Durant signed a four-year, $198 million extension to stay with the Nets through 2026.

This news also broke three years to the day (!!!) after Irving and Durant announced that they were teaming up on the Brooklyn Nets:


Durant and Kyrie Irving had no contact with the Nets after Irving opted into his deal on Monday, and a sense of inevitability existed that Durant would eventually ask for a trade, sources told ESPN. But the timing is striking: just two days ago Irving was seeking sign-and-trade scenarios that could’ve sent him to the Los Angeles Lakers. But 48 hours after Irving’s decision to stay, it’s Durant who appears to be on the move.

As the Nets prepare to move one of the most valuable trade assets ever on the market, the entire roster will available to discuss in deals, sources told ESPN. Durant has singled out the Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat as two of his preferred trade destinations.


This signals more upheaval for the Nets, who assembled a team early last year that included Durant, Irving and former Houston Rocket James Harden. There were high hopes for the team, but things began to unravel over the course of the next year. The Nets were eliminated from the playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks in June 2021. And by the end of that year, reports surfaced revealing that Harden was dissatisfied.

Harden was unhappy living in Brooklyn (citing climate differences and state taxes). Harden was also disgruntled with his team. He told Nets brass and close contacts about his frustration with teammate Kyrie Irving being a part-time player. (Irving was/is unvaccinated and could not play in home games due to a local mandate that all professional athletes playing in New York City’s public venues be vaccinated against COVID-19.) To make matters worse, Kevin Durant suffered a knee injury (sprained MCL) and missed time. The three played together in just 16 games last season before Harden was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in February.

Meanwhile, Irving played just 29 games and missed most of the Nets’ home games because he refused to get vaccinated. (New York City had a mandate that required all city workers who interact with the public while doing business to get vaccinated.) He was fined for every game he missed, forfeiting up to $17 million in salary. After NYC Mayor Eric Adams relaxed the regulations, Irving was able to rejoin his team. But after a 39-point performance in Game 1 of the Nets’ playoff series, then combined to score just 46 points on 37% shooting over the next three games (per Yahoo! Sports). The Nets were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics.


UPDATE (Aug. 8, 2022): Durant has repeated his trade request, but has now upped the ante. “In a face-to-face meeting with Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai over the weekend, All-NBA star Kevin Durant reiterated his trade request and informed Tsai that he needs to choose between Durant or the pairing of general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash,” The Athletic reports. “Durant stated he does not have faith in the team’s direction, sources said.”

“Durant and Tsai spoke in London on Saturday and sources described the meeting as transparent and professional. The meeting took place a year to the day that Durant agreed to a four-year, $198 million contract extension with the Nets,” notes The Athletic‘s NBA reporter Shams Charania.

BREAKING (Aug. 23): Those trade discussions are over. Durant has agreed to remain in Brooklyn.

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