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 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.