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NBA Governor on Kevin Durant, Stars Requesting Trades: 'You Don't Have to Trade Them'

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 14, 2022

Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

An NBA team governor said it's important for franchises to take a stand in certain situations, particularly when star players ask for a trade while under a long-term contract.

It's a major topic within the league as Kevin Durant, who requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets in June, is just starting the four-year, $194.2 million extension he signed with the organization last August.

"Not really an issue of players seeking trades with multiple years [remaining]," the unnamed governor told Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill on Wednesday. "Honestly, players in that position can test their leverage, but at the end of the day, they're under contract and you don't have to trade them."

Interest in Durant hasn't been as widespread as initially expected when the 12-time All-Star expressed his desire to get a fresh start elsewhere. ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported Wednesday the market for KD "has not been as lucrative as the Nets were hoping."

While he's a game-changing talent who's on his way to becoming one of the most decorated players in NBA history, teams are concerned about whether it's possible to build around him.

NBA decision-makers who spoke with Goodwill openly questioned "what's to stop Durant from pulling this same act 12 months from now" and expressed concern they have "no clue what it would take for him to stay if he comes."

The Nets situation is an example of a well-intentioned plan that went awry. The arrival of KD and Kyrie Irving in 2019 was supposed to lay the groundwork for multiple championships as other stars were expected to flock to Brooklyn to join that superstar tandem.

Instead, the team devolved into a drama-filled mess that was swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics last season.

James Harden, who was acquired in January 2021, lasted just 13 months with the Nets before being dealt to the Philadelphia 76ers in February. The most notable addition from that trade, Ben Simmons, didn't play for Brooklyn down the stretch.

It's become commonplace around the NBA for marquee names to request trades, regardless of their contract status, which is something commissioner Adam Silver discussed Tuesday.

"Look, this needs to be a two-way street. Teams provide enormous security and guarantees to players and the expectation is, in return, they will meet their end of the bargain," Silver told reporters. "I'm realistic that there's always conversations that are going to go on behind closed doors between players and their representatives and the teams. But we don't like to see players requesting trades, and we don't like to see it playing out the way it is."

He added the league will look for "remedies" to buck the trend in the next collective bargaining agreement with the Players Association.

That said, one of the reasons the NBA is so popular relates to the endless player movement. A constant stream of offseason storylines keeps the league in the headlines for the entire year, even when games aren't being played, and there's plenty of value to that interest in the rumor mill.

So eliminating that aspect of the NBA's allure while also trying to limit player empowerment may not have the intended affect the league's executives are seeking.

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