Kevin Durant Rumors: Star 'Balked' at Straight-Up Trade for D'Angelo Russell

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 11, 2019

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 28: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball against D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Brooklyn Nets during the game at Barclays Center on October 28, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. 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. (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)
Matteo Marchi/Getty Images

Kevin Durant was reportedly not a fan of being traded straight up for D'Angelo Russell. 

ESPN's Brian Windhorst delved into the sign-and-trade that sent Durant from the Golden State Warriors to the Brooklyn Nets in a column that investigates the use of player leverage during multiple negotiations this offseason.

Windhorst noted there wasn't a notable advantage for Durant to be included in a sign-and-trade since the Nets could sign him outright. Russell was drawing interest from other teams as well and also wouldn't necessarily benefit from such a move.

According to Windhorst, Durant "initially balked at being traded for Russell straight up" and required Golden State to include a first-round pick in the deal, believing it to be an unfair trade for the Nets otherwise.

If that pick falls within the top 20 next season, the Nets will instead receive a second-round pick in six years.

Durant's leverage also helped the Nets convince the Warriors to take Shabazz Napier's and Treveon Graham's contracts off their hands. Golden State then traded the duo to the Minnesota Timberwolves along with $3.6 million.

The Memphis Grizzlies, meanwhile, acquired Andre Iguodala and a 2024 first-round pick from the Warriors because Golden State was facing a tight salary-cap situation.

The Warriors paid a steep price for Russell, although he is just 23 years old and coming off his first All-Star season. He can help fill in for Klay Thompson while the sharpshooter recovers from a torn ACL. Russell should keep the five-time defending Western Conference champions in contention while playing alongside Stephen Curry and Draymond Green.

While Russell is a talented player with a bright future, Durant is a surefire Hall of Famer, a 10-time All-Star, two-time NBA Finals MVP, one-time league MVP, six-time first-team All-NBA selection and four-time scoring champion.

His presence alongside Kyrie Irving should put the Nets on the short list of NBA title contenders when Durant returns from his ruptured Achilles. Russell could not say the same, even though he led the Nets to the playoffs last season.

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