Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant has requested a trade from the team, according to his business manager Rich Kleiman. Nets general manager Sean Marks is working with Durant and Kleiman on finding a trade, per Adrian Wojnarowski. Durant reportedly has the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat as preferred destinations, but there will undoubtedly be no shortage of teams looking to make the best deal to obtain the 12-time All-Star's services. Durant doesn't have a no-trade clause in his contract, so Brooklyn is able to trade him to whichever team will give them the best value.
This news comes after there was reported concern about Brooklyn's future with both Durant and Kyrie Irving. Once news circulated earlier this week that Irving may not want to be in Brooklyn anymore if the team wasn't going to offer him a long-term extension, there were rumblings that Durant would want out as well. However, Irving recently opted in on his $37 million player option for next season, suggesting that both he and Durant would remain with the Nets for at least the 2022-23 season.
But Wojnarowski reports that neither Irving or Durant had any contact with the Nets front office after Irving opted into his player option, suggesting that Durant would eventually ask for a trade.
This is a whirlwind journey for a Nets team that was considered championship favorites heading into last season. But a trade request from James Harden -- which landed the Nets Ben Simmons from the 76ers -- an MCL injury to Durant and Irving being unable to play in majority of the season due to his unvaccinated status completely shattered those aspirations. As a result, the Nets were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics with a fully healthy Durant and Irving. Durant's desire to request a trade hints that he may be done with the tumultuous nature of the Nets franchise since he joined the team in 2019.
Durant's four-year, $198 million contract extension that he signed last summer doesn't kick in until the 2022-23 season, so it's going to take a massive offer from opposing teams to bring him in. But with free agency starting, every team will be calling the Nets to try and put together a package worth Durant's talents.
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As for the Nets, this is a rough situation to be in for a team that at one point had all three of Durant, Irving and Harden and were the most stacked team in the league on paper. That wealth of talent never lived up to its potential, though, with injuries and vaccination statuses plaguing their championship journey.
The return for Durant could set the Nets up nicely for the future with the potential to land several first-round picks and perhaps a young, cornerstone player to build around. They could also trade away Irving now that he's opted into his player option, giving them more assets to work with.
The Durant development just made everything far more intriguing as surely every team in the league will now try to pivot and make a deal for one of the league's best players.