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Kevin Durant Trade Rumors: Teams Worry About Keeping Star Happy More Than His Age

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 18, 2022

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The enormous haul of young star players and draft picks the Brooklyn Nets reportedly are expecting to receive in a trade for Kevin Durant isn't the only reason the superstar still hasn't been dealt after requesting a trade this summer.

According to NBA reporter Marc Stein, "the persistent scuttle around the league, though, is that clubs interested in Durant mostly fear their ability to keep him content more than they feel any concern about his advancing age."

"If the Nets can't keep him happy, after everything they've given him, how are we supposed to?" a Western Conference official asked Stein.

In Brooklyn, Durant received a four-year, $194.2 million contract extension, was able to pair with his good friend Kyrie Irving, reportedly had a pretty big say in the Nets hiring Steve Nash to be head coach—even if he's pushed back against the notion that he "picked" Nash himself—and has had input on personnel decisions, though again, he's pushed back on the notion that he's served as a shadow general manager.

Durant has earned a lot of influence over an organization. The 33-year-old is a one-time MVP, 12-time All-Star, six-time first-team All-NBA selection, two-time champion and just averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game this past season.

If you need a bucket, there are few players in NBA history more capable of getting you one than Durant given his size, skill and basketball IQ.

But the Brooklyn situation deteriorated within three seasons of Durant and Irving joining forces. Durant missed the first year of that partnership as he recovered from a torn Achilles. Injuries left the Nets weakened in the 2020-21 campaign, and a team that had Durant, Irving and James Harden but barely had them available at the same time fell to the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

And then everything fell apart this past season.

Irving spent much of the season either away from the team or unable to play home games while New York City's vaccination mandate was in place for professional athletes. Harden demanded and eventually received a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers. The main piece that came back to the Nets, Ben Simmons, has yet to play for the team.

And a disjoined Nets side was swept in four games by the Boston Celtics in the first round.

The summer didn't see things get better, as the organization and Irving didn't agree to a long-term extension and Durant asked out. Trade rumors surrounding both players have persisted since, with one source telling Stein that the Durant market is expected to move in a "slow" manner.

The Nets offered Durant the backdrop of New York City, the chance to pair with his good friend, a loaded roster and plenty of say within the organization. It's fair to question if he'll find a situation that checks all of those boxes elsewhere, though there may be other considerations behind the scenes that have not been reported and that factored into Durant's decision.

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