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ESPN: NBA Insiders Say Kevin Durant 'Is Not Wired' to Sit out Season Like Ben Simmons

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJuly 31, 2022

Theo Wargo/Getty Images

No matter how frustrated Kevin Durant is with the Brooklyn Nets, do not expect him to sit out the 2022-23 season.

ESPN's Zach Lowe spoke to NBA insiders who say "Durant is not wired" to sit out similar to how teammate Ben Simmons opted out of last season amid his falling out with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Simmons requested a trade last offseason and then refused to play for the Sixers after not being granted a deal before the season, citing mental health concerns. He was then traded to Brooklyn in February as part of the James Harden deal but missed the remainder of the season due to a back injury.

It's now been more than a month since Durant informed Nets governor Joe Tsai that he wants a trade despite having four years left on his contract. Brooklyn has slow-played negotiations to this point, setting a massive asking price for the 12-time All-Star and refusing to succumb to pressure to make an immediate move.

Should the Nets not find a trade by the time camp opens, it's almost certain Durant will report and perform his contractually obligated duties. Comparing the situation to the Simmons-Sixers fiasco is a stretch, in large part because that was an unprecedented falling out.

Simmons willingly—at least at the time—lost nearly $20 million simply to never play for the Sixers again. There were also concerns about the player's mental health, which does not appear to be the case in Durant's situation. Durant's is more of a straightforward trade request, which would give the Nets a firm leg up should they want to force him to forfeit his $43 million salary if he sits out.

Expecting Durant to be a happy camper is unlikely, but there's little chance he'd be willing to mar his public reputation with a true holdout.

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