Kevin Durant’s decision to ask Brooklyn Nets team owner Joe Tsai for a trade has stunned the NBA. While most are speculating about the “historic haul” that Brooklyn is about to get, others are urging Tsai to continue playing hardball.
The Nets are in no hurry to trade KD as they have almost all of the leverage in trade talks. Analyst Skip Bayless would take that route, tweeting:
“If I ran the Nets, I’d tell Kevin Durant, ‘You have 4 years left on your contract. You’re playing for the Nets next year, with Kyrie and Ben Simmons. We’re going to win it all.’ If KD wanted a different coach, fine. But why give up KD & Kyrie and pretty much start over? Just me.”
The max extension that Durant signed last year will kick in next season. His contract will run through the 2025-26 season, which is also a big reason why he’s such an attractive catch. Tsai could stubbornly refuse to trade KD, and the superstar forward would be obliged to keep his end of the deal.
Kyrie Irving, Durant’s star partner, has opted into his contract after losing all leverage to get a max deal. He may have to play out next season unless the Nets trade him before bolting for the LA Lakers.
Ben Simmons, who sat out last season despite a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Nets, is expected to be fully healthy next season. If he plays with KD and Irving, Brooklyn would be an elite team that should at least make the playoffs.
Should the Nets stay put, the trio of Irving, Durant and Simmons should have one full season to test how much they can accomplish.
Shannon Sharpe, Skip Bayless’ co-host on “The Undisputed,” rips Kevin Durant
“The Undisputed” hosts were on vacation when news of Durant’s stunning request broke. Skip Bayless quickly jumped into the fray, but Shannon Sharpe largely kept mum. The Denver Broncos legend, however, let it all loose as when the show aired, saying:
“KD, he’s a runner. He’s a track star. He’s gonna run away when it gets hard. He can’t take the pain. He can’t get scarred. … If you get involved, he’ll leave your team in ruins. I’m so disappointed in Kevin Durant. I think once and for all, this KD-LeBron comparison, we can put into bed.”
The three-time Super Bowl champ continued:
“Everything that’s there was because of Kevin Durant. The head coach was because of Kevin Durant. Kyrie, James Harden, this one and that one, LaMarcus Aldridge, Patty Mills, Blake Griffin, everybody was there because of Kevin Durant! And now, a little adversity starts to hit, where KD go?
“He ain’t trying to start from the bottom. Let’s go to the team that was the two No. 1 seeds last year.”