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NBA Rumors: Teams Wary of Public Backlash Comparing Trade Returns for Star Players

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 29, 2022

Kevin Durant (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The NBA trade market has reportedly stalled because asking prices have soared toward "objectively nonsensical" levels since the Minnesota Timberwolves sent a package that included four first-round picks and a pick swap to acquire Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz.

Fred Katz of The Athletic reported Friday the Gobert trade followed by Kevin Durant requesting a move from the Brooklyn Nets created a situation in which front offices are wary of what type of return they'll receive for their own players.

"Teams don't exactly look forward to the public hollering about how a better player landed less in a trade than an inferior one," Katz wrote.

The Nets are in a difficult situation because the Gobert package set the market, but they may not be able to maximize their leverage because of a few different variables.

First, there are a limited number of teams with the combination of assets, financial flexibility and desire to acquire a player of KD's caliber, which is basically an all-in move.

Second, the Nets are trying to "drive the market" toward a quick resolution because they are concerned about a "kerfuffle" if the 12-time All-Star opts to hold out if he's not traded before training camp, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic.

Finally, as Katz noted, the market is on the verge of collapsing on itself because the asking prices are getting to a point where it doesn't make sense for interested teams.

So Brooklyn may find itself in a situation where it must accept an offer for below the established market value or attempt to enter the 2022-23 campaign with a disgruntled Durant after already enduring a few drama-filled years of a KD and Kyrie Irving core.

The Nets have held firm in their demands to this point, though the time pressure really hasn't ramped up yet with more than two months until the season tips off.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported the Boston Celtics offered Jaylen Brown, Derrick White and a draft pick for Durant. Brooklyn rejected and countered with Brown, Marcus Smart, multiple picks and potentially another rotation player.

Whether it's the Celtics or another team, the risk with making a deal similar to the Nets' offer to Boston is it's a major hit to the team's depth while also limiting the ability to add young players on team-friendly contracts to fill those voids in the draft over the coming years.

Put it all together and the Durant talks have remained sluggish since his trade request, and all the other potential moves are basically in wait-and-see mode until the KD situation is settled.

The end result may be a late flurry of moves during training camp, which could shake up the title picture right back the new season gets underway.

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