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Kevin Durant Trade Rumors: Nets 'Appear to Be Banking on' Star Softening Stance

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 22, 2022

AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File

As trade rumors continue to swirl around superstar Kevin Durant, the Brooklyn Nets seem more than content to slow-play the situation.

There's a motive to the approach outside of getting the best possible trade package. According to NBA writer Marc Stein, the Nets are hoping Durant might reverse his trade request and work things out with the organization:

"League sources maintain that the Nets have not yet lowered their asking price in response to Durant's trade demand and thus appear to be banking on the idea that there is still time for Durant to soften his trade-me stance and reengage with the franchise he is signed with for the next four seasons at $194 million.

"The Nets, as well as the rest of the league, thus remain in wait-and-see mode with regard to Durant's willingness to report to training camp on time and whether he is prepared to make things more uncomfortable for the organization to encourage trade discussions."

While there reportedly has been a long list of suitors for Durant, none have met Brooklyn's asking price.

Per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat "remain among the most serious threats to land Durant," while the Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans, Atlanta Hawks and Memphis Grizzlies have also checked in with the Nets.

According to that report, the Celtics offered Jaylen Brown, Derrick White and a first-rounder, while the Nets countered by asking for Brown, Marcus Smart, multiple draft picks and another rotational player. The Celtics have yet to offer either Smart or promising young center Robert Williams in negotiations.

The Raptors reportedly won't make Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes available in a potential trade, per Shams, while the Pelicans won't part with Brandon Ingram and the Heat haven't offered Bam Adebayo (and he couldn't be traded to the Nets unless Ben Simmons was also traded by Brooklyn because of the NBA's designated rookie extension rules).

While the Grizzlies have plenty of future first-round picks to offer and a number of promising young players, they reportedly have abstained from offering Jaren Jackson Jr. or Desmond Bane in any potential deals, per Shams.

The Hawks reportedly offered the Nets John Collins, De’Andre Hunter and a draft pick, while the Suns have offered Mikal Bridges and a "handful of first-round draft picks."

So for the time being, Durant remains a Net. Many teams around the league likely will hold off on making their best offer until there is more clarity on whether Durant will report to training camp, and how much drama he might be willing to cause in his effort to get traded.

One factor that could cool Durant's desire to make a move to a new franchise is Brooklyn's relationship with Kyrie Irving. Per Shams, "sources with knowledge of the situation say he has been working out with teammates and holding constructive dialogue with the organization this offseason."

If the Nets and Irving can smooth things over after he and the organization couldn't agree on a long-term extension this summer—which in turn led to trade rumors surrounding the veteran point guard—it could potentially ease tensions between Durant and the team.

That remains to be seen. But for now, Durant's future remains in a holding pattern, and the Nets don't seem particularly rushed to resolve the situation.

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