NBA

Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant meet, agree to ‘move forward’ together after star’s trade demands

Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant meet, agree to ‘move forward’ together after star’s trade demands
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Kevin Durant is staying in Brooklyn, according to a statement from Nets general manager Sean Marks.

« [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 on June 30 and reiterated that desire in a meeting with Joe Tsai in London, sources confirmed to ESPN, earlier this month. During that meeting, Durant wanted Tsai to choose between him and the brain trust of Nash and Marks.

Instead, Nash and Marks will retain their jobs, while Durant will remain in Brooklyn as the four-year, $198 million extension he signed last offseason kicks in this season.

The Nets have spent the best part of the offseason dealing with upheaval from stars Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Irving, who played in 29 games last season after choosing to not get the COVID-19 vaccine, created a list of teams he would have liked the Nets to consider working with on a sign-and-trade deal. However, no viable trade materialized and Irving opted into the final year of his contract. The Nets could still trade him as an expiring contract (although Irving would have no formal voice in a potential landing spot) and have until June 30 of next year to work out an extension before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

With Irving and Durant still with the team, the Nets will look to improve upon last year’s first-round playoff exit and hope Ben Simmons will be a part of that.

Simmons was traded to Brooklyn in a deal that sent James Harden to Philadelphia, but has not yet made his Nets debut. Simmons underwent a microdiscectomy procedure in May to address pain located in a herniated disk in his lower back, but is expected to be healthy for training camp.

According to Caesars Sportsbook, the Nets’ odds to win the NBA championship this season moved from 18-1 to 11-1 after the Nets announced Durant will stay. The 11-1 odds tie Brooklyn with the Los Angeles Lakers for fourth-best odds to win the title behind the Celtics (+450), Warriors (+650), Suns (+800), Clippers (+800) and Bucks (+ 800).

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