The Kevin Durant sweepstakes could soon be back on.
ESPN's Zach Lowe reported on the Lowe Post podcast (via HoopsHype) "the whole league is ready now to reengage" in trade discussions centered around the Brooklyn Nets star. He added at the 26:24 mark "the vultures are gonna circle on Durant" amid the Nets' ongoing turmoil.
The organization refused to acquiesce to Durant's trade request in the offseason, but so much has changed already that the front office could be more receptive to the idea.
Prior to opening night, the Nets clearly remained convinced of their ability to contend for a title with the pair of Durant and Kyrie Irving. Now, they're 3-6 and sitting 12th in the Eastern Conference.
So much of Brooklyn's championship hopes rested on a return to form by Ben Simmons. The three-time All-Star looks even more hesitant on offense—his 5.7 shot attempts per game are fewer than half of his career average (11.5)—and he's dealing with a knee problem as well.
The team's start was enough to cost head coach Steve Nash his job. Even assuming things turn around under interim head coach Jacque Vaughn or a permanent replacement to Nash, there's only so much the staff can do with a squad that's 26th in defensive rating (115.0), per NBA.com.
As that has all unfolded on the court, Irving created more drama off it by sharing a link on Twitter to an antisemitic film. After he failed to apologize or renounce the content of the movie, the Nets suspended him for a minimum of five games without pay.
Irving apologized on Instagram shortly after the suspension was issued.
It all raises the question as to whether the Nets are prolonging the inevitable by keeping Durant and avoiding the full-scale rebuild his departure would trigger. If recent history tells us anything, then the next crisis is right around the corner for Brooklyn.
Lowe said the teams that might covet Durant "expect the Nets to put on a strong face for a while, to not rush it." He also posited the 12-time All-Star may not attempt to force his way out now, either, because of how it would be viewed.
Maybe nothing materializes before the Feb. 9 trade deadline or even next summer. Still, you can't help but feel Durant's days in Brooklyn are numbered.