AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
Kevin Durant’s draw could resume soon.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported on the Lowe Post podcast (via HoopsHype) “the whole league is now ready to re-engage” in trade talks centered on the Brooklyn Nets star. He added at 26:24 “the vultures will be circling Durant” amid the Nets’ continued turmoil.
The organization refused to acquiesce to Durant’s trade request this offseason, but so much has already changed that the front office may be more receptive to the idea.
Heading into opening night, the Nets remained clearly confident in their ability to contend for a title with the pair of Durant and Kyrie Irving. Now they are 3-6 and are 12th in the Eastern Conference.
Much of Brooklyn’s championship hopes hinged on a return to form from Ben Simmons. The three-time All-Star looks even more tentative on offense – his 5.7 shot attempts per game is less than half his career average (11.5) – and he’s dealing with a knee problem as well.
The team’s departure was enough to cost head coach Steve Nash his job. Even assuming things change under interim head coach Jacque Vaughn or a permanent Nash replacement, there’s not much staff can do with a team ranked 26th in defensive rating (115.0 ), according to NBA.com.
As all of this unfolded on the ground, Irving created more drama by sharing a link on Twitter to an anti-Semitic film. After he failed to apologize or waive content from the film, the Nets suspended him for a minimum of five games without pay.
Irving apologized on Instagram shortly after the suspension was issued.
All of this begs the question of whether the Nets are prolonging the inevitable by keeping Durant and avoiding the full-scale rebuilding his departure would trigger. If recent history tells us anything, then the next crisis is imminent for Brooklyn.
Lowe said teams that might covet Durant “expect the Nets to look good for a while, so they don’t rush.” He also posited that the 12-time All-Star might not try to make his way now either, because of how it would be perceived.
Maybe nothing materializes until the February 9 trade deadline or even next summer. Still, you can’t help but think Durant’s days in Brooklyn are numbered.