Kevin Durant turned the NBA world on its ahead at the beginning of free agency this year when he requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets.
It has become sort of commonplace for big stars to want out of undesirable situations, but usually not when they still have four years remaining on their contracts the way Durant does.
Durant’s actions led to a lot of questions and introspection regarding whether this type of stuff was hurting the NBA.
This week, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban addressed that topic.
“I think it’s happening less,” Cuban told NBA insider Steve Bulpett. “I think some of the old school guys are still in that mode, but the younger guys…
“I can’t comment on any one player, but you’re seeing some of the younger guys sign extensions with no player options.”
Cuban is right. The Memphis Grizzlies just gave team star Ja Morant a five-year, $193 million max deal that has no fifth-year player-option. That’s a telling sign about which way the winds are shifting.
“You know what?” Cuban added, “you’ve got to separate reality from talk, right? When a guy’s got three or four years left, the team’s got the choice.”
This Durant saga will be fascinating to watch. There are already reports surfacing about how stunned the Nets are at the lack of interest in a massive blockbuster trade for him.
Based on the offers that have leaked out thus far, their surprise is understandable. The Los Angeles Lakers’ best proposal for him is a matter of public record at this juncture. Same with the Boston Celtics’ best offer. And seeing as the Toronto Raptors are already refusing to include one player in any prospective trade, it’s hard to see how they legitimately swing this.
— Game 7 (@game7__) July 11, 2022
Durant has two major issues with the Nets that at this point seem irreparable. A trade feels inevitable. But where specifically he will go remains unclear. He obviously has one preferred destination, but Brooklyn has zero incentive to care about that.
This is shaping up to be an interesting next few weeks. What happens with Durant from here on out will have massive ramifications for the entire NBA for many years to come.
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