Well, it officially happened. Amid all the Kyrie Irving drama and with the Brooklyn Nets about two steps from falling off a cliff, Kevin Durant has formally requested a trade, Durant's manager tells ESPN. Adrian Wojnarowski added that the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat are among Durant's preferred landing spots.
Durant is arguably going to be the most high-leverage player to ever be traded in the NBA. He's going to bring a king's ransom back to Brooklyn. Which is why the Nets aren't just going to send him where he wants to go. Durant just signed a four-year extension last summer. He's under contract through 2026. Brooklyn isn't backed into a corner here. It's going to take the best deal it can get.
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So in essence, what Durant is saying is he would rather play for any other team than the Nets, because he could literally be traded anywhere. What a mess. Durant went to Brooklyn to line up his own super team with Irving, who didn't even come close to fulfilling his end of the deal. Neither did James Harden when he stopped by for a season and a half.
You have to wonder what the next dominos to fall will be, and whether Ben Simmons is a potential trade candidate now, too. Irving, who just opted in to his $36.5M player option for the 2022-23 season, could well be gone as well, though the teams that have a desire to deal with him is probably significantly smaller than those who would be interested in Simmons, assuming he intends to actually play basketball again.
So here we go. Free agency is set to open at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday night, and the league that is never short on soap-opera stories is off and running. You have to love it.