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Joe Tsai: Nets' Coaches, Front Office 'Have My Support' amid Kevin Durant Rumors

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 9, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CA  -  FEBRUARY 21: Governor Joe Tsai of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during the game against the LA Clippers on February 21, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Brooklyn Nets team governor Joe Tsai appears to have called Kevin Durant's bluff.

"Our front office and coaching staff have my support," Tsai tweeted Monday. "We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets."

Joe Tsai @joetsai1999

Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.

The Athletic's Shams Charania reported earlier in the day that Durant "reiterated his trade request and informed Tsai that he needs to choose between Durant or the pairing of general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash."

Durant's ultimatum seemed to at least present the team with a path toward placating the 12-time All-Star. Tsai's public response left little doubt as to the organization's attitude toward that demand.

Now the ball is in Durant's court.

James Harden and Jimmy Butler showed how a star player can make a situation so toxic his team has little recourse but to acquiesce to a trade. Following the same blueprint may not be an option for Durant, though.

For one, the 6'10" forward is under contract for four more seasons, so he can't leverage the possibility of leaving as a free agent to force Brooklyn's hand.

Durant turns 34 in September as well. Is he prepared to potentially waste a year of his career in a standoff with his current team?

The Nets have almost nothing to lose at this point by playing hardball.

Trading Durant basically shuts their championship window for the foreseeable future, and they can't embark on a traditional rebuild because so much of their first-round draft capital is in the hands of the Houston Rockets. Even if he comes kicking and screaming, bringing KD back into the fold is the better outcome right now.

And at the end of the day, there's no guarantee firing Nash and Marks would leave the Nets any better off. Nothing would stop Durant from requesting a trade again next summer or even in the middle of the season if Brooklyn brought in a new coach and GM.

Under normal circumstances, you'd be willing to throw Nash and Marks under the bus if it meant getting to keep a player as good as Durant. But the way in which the Nets' superteam era has imploded changes the equation.

The jury is still out on Nash a bit, but Marks displayed his acumen by helping put together a roster of young stars and overlooked veterans that catapulted Brooklyn into the 2019 playoffs.

Marks has already rebuilt the Nets from the ground up, so he's exactly the guy you'd want leading the way forward in a post-Durant future.

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