Kevin Durant didn’t get it.
It was October 2018, again when his powers have been at their peak with Golden State and all was nonetheless effectively in his Warriors world. (His on-court blow-up with Draymond Green was a month later.) We have been sitting on the crew’s apply facility discussing the sort of subject that solely reigning champions can broach: What groups may need a chance to knock you off the throne?
When the interview ended and an off-the-cuff dialog started, the subject shifted to the information of the summer time: Jimmy Butler and his uncomfortably loud commerce demand from Minnesota. Durant didn’t go into any nice element on the topic, however there was this unmistakable sense that he didn’t see the scenario as worthy of the nonstop media consideration it was getting.
Just days earlier than, Butler had stolen the nationwide highlight with the infamous practice punking through which he beat the crew’s starters whereas taking part in with the second crew after which jumped on ESPN to speak about it. It was … rather a lot. As Durant has mentioned many instances earlier than, he needs reporters and followers would focus extra on the sport itself and fewer on the fixed drama that surrounds it.
Yet 4 summers later, right here we’re.
Regardless of the Kyrie Irving/James Harden/Ben Simmons subplots which have performed a pivotal half in Durant’s scenario, the actual fact stays that he’s doing one thing that has by no means been completed right here. With 4 years and $194 million left on his deal, the 33-year-old (34 on Sept. 29) not solely demanded a commerce on June 30, but additionally, per our Shams Charania, knowledgeable proprietor Joe Tsai in early August that the one solution to maintain him could be to fireside basic supervisor Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash. Tsai, in flip, made it clear that each will likely be going nowhere by the use of his public help on Twitter.
Our entrance workplace and training workers have my help. We will make selections in one of the best curiosity of the Brooklyn Nets.
— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) August 8, 2022
This is a few next-level boldness from Durant, to say the least. And whereas he made it clear (via Twitter) on Monday that speculation about his possible retirement is off-base, the ironic query now turns into: If a commerce doesn’t materialize earlier than Nets camp begins in late September, is Durant prepared to go full Jimmy Butler if he doesn’t get what he desires? Or, maybe, will he go the route of his Nets teammate Simmons and never report back to camp (as Simmons did in Philadelphia final season)?
Most people across the league with whom I spoke appear to consider the reply isn’t any, however we will see. As for the notion that the Marks-Nash ultimatum would possibly velocity up the method by forcing the Nets to decrease their lofty calls for in a deal, I didn’t discover a lot help for that concept both.
“Marks is still asking for the world; that won’t change,” one basic supervisor texted late final week. “They could call his bluff and make him come to camp. I can’t see him sitting out.”
While that finally is likely to be the case, this case hardly appears headed the best way of Kobe Bryant’s unfulfilled Los Angeles Lakers commerce request in the summertime of 2007 both. By most accounts, the top has unofficially arrived between Durant and the Nets.
Among the executives with whom I spoke, a Boston cope with Jaylen Brown because the centerpiece seems to be the unofficial front-runner right here. In basic phrases, sources say the Nets are utilizing the truth that the Celtics (and maybe different groups) have made their second-best participant obtainable as a baseline of kinds in negotiations. Translation: If you’re nonetheless making an attempt to debate a Durant deal with out placing your second-best expertise on the desk, then simply cease losing everybody’s time and bow out of this race.
And who can blame the Nets for taking this stance? As our Seth Partnow reminded us in his NBA Player Tiers lately, Durant is as elite as they arrive: a “Tier 1A” participant within the undertaking through which Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James are the one different gamers to be on condition that distinction.
So we look forward to a deal to return collectively — similar to we now have all these instances earlier than.
Truth be informed, nobody needs to be stunned it’s taking this lengthy. In the curiosity of passing the time earlier than camp and contextualizing the league’s newest star participant commerce demand, let’s check out essentially the most distinguished ones who got here earlier than. If nothing else, this could function a reminder that the ready sport is sort of at all times a part of this course of, particularly when the participant makes such a transfer with a couple of season left on his deal.
It’s fascinating to look again on the best way every participant selected to deal with his scenario too. Butler was hardly the one one who escalated an already delicate scenario along with his chosen fashion. There was James Harden, circa his closing days in Houston and Brooklyn, when he made it so abundantly clear on and off the ground that he wished out that it irked those around him and appeared to hurry up his exit.
There was loads of that with Anthony Davis in New Orleans as effectively. Ditto for Dwight Howard in Orlando. And loads of others alongside the best way.
A better look
Contract standing: Entering the primary season of a four-year, $194 million deal.
Other high-profile stars who’ve requested out since 2010
Asked out: Late August 2010. (Anthony tells the Denver Nuggets he desires out; Nets, LA Clippers, Warriors, Houston Rockets and Charlotte Hornets are talked about because the more than likely prospects. The New York Knicks risk is reported as unlikely.)
Sidenote: Masai Ujiri, who has headed Toronto’s entrance workplace since 2013 and whose Raptors are recognized to be within the combine for Durant, was employed as Denver’s basic supervisor not lengthy earlier than Anthony’s commerce request and finally led the best way on the cope with New York.
Trade date: Feb. 21, 2011. (‘Melo to New York.)
Time elapsed: Six months.
Contract standing: Anthony was getting into the final season of his five-year, $78.8 million deal when he requested out and was only a few months away from free company when he was lastly dealt to the Knicks.
Chris Paul (the Hornets chapter)
Asked out: Dec. 1, 2011. (With the post-lockout season nearing, Paul’s agent reportedly tells the New Orleans Hornets that he desires a commerce to Anthony’s Knicks.)
Trade date: Dec. 14, 2011. (Paul is traded to the Clippers.)
Sidenote: For the youthful readers who someway won’t remember, a three-team deal sending Paul to the Lakers — which had been finalized mid-day on Dec. 8 — was vetoed by late NBA Commissioner David Stern later that night time.
Time elapsed (from the preliminary request to the Clippers commerce): Two weeks.
Contract standing: Paul was getting into the third season of his four-year, $63.6 million deal (fourth-year participant choice) when he requested out and when he was traded.
Asked … in?: March 15, 2012. (Howard indicators a waiver saying he won’t opt out of the ultimate 12 months of his deal, says he’ll keep via the summer time of 2013.)
Asked out (once more): June 30, 2012. (Howard asks for a trade for a second time.)
Trade date: Aug. 10, 2012. (He’s traded to the Lakers.)
Time elapsed (from the preliminary ask-out, minus the time between when he signed the waiver to when he requested out once more): Three and a half months.
Contract standing: Howard was within the fourth season of his five-year, $83 million deal when the preliminary commerce request was lodged. He was getting into the ultimate season of his deal when he was traded.
Traded: June 30, 2017. (George traded to Oklahoma City.)
Time elapsed: Four months.
Contract standing: George was halfway via the third season of his five-year, $91 million deal (fifth-year participant choice) when he requested out and was getting into the fourth season when he was traded.
Traded: Aug. 22, 2017. (Kyrie traded to Boston.)
Time elapsed: One month.
Contract standing: Irving was getting into the third season of his five-year, $94 million deal (fifth-year participant choice) when he requested out and when he was traded.
Asked out: June 15, 2018. (Leonard desires out of San Antonio, prefers Lakers.)
Trade date: July 18, 2018. (Traded to Toronto.)
Time elapsed: One month
Contract standing: Leonard was getting into the fourth season of his five-year, $94 million deal (participant choice within the fifth 12 months) when he requested out and when he was traded.
Asked out: Sept. 29, 2018. (Butler asks for a trade; the Clippers, Nets and Knicks are reported as his preferred destinations. Butler would later point out that he’d made his needs recognized earlier in the summertime to then-coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau.)
Trade date: Nov. 12, 2018. (Butler traded to Philadelphia.)
Time elapsed: Six weeks.
Contract standing: Butler was getting into the fourth season of his five-year, $92 million deal (participant choice within the fifth 12 months) when he requested out and when he was traded.
Asked out: Late January 2019. (Davis asks for a trade from New Orleans and makes it clear he received’t re-sign; Lakers, Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks and Clippers are cited as most well-liked locations, however the Lakers are the clear precedence for Davis.)
Traded: June 15, 2019. (Davis traded to the Lakers.)
Time elapsed: Four and a half months.
Contract standing: Davis was halfway via the third season of his five-year, $127 million deal (fifth-year participant choice) when he requested out. He was getting into the fourth season of his deal when he was traded.
James Harden (the Rockets chapter)
Asked out: Mid-November 2020. (Russell Westbrook’s trade request, as we’d later be taught, was a product of him studying that Harden wished out. Philadelphia and Brooklyn are cited as Harden’s preferred destinations.)
Traded: Jan. 14, 2021. (Harden traded to Brooklyn.)
Time elapsed: Two months.
Contract standing: Harden was within the second season of his four-year, $171 million deal (fourth-year participant choice) when he requested out and when he was traded.
Sidenote: Some 13 months later, in fact, Harden’s latest bout with professional unhappiness had the whole lot to do along with his commerce to the Sixers on Feb. 10.
Asked out: Late August 2021. (Simmons asks for a commerce in a meeting with Sixers officials.)
Traded: Feb. 10, 2022. (Simmons traded to Brooklyn.)
Time elapsed: Five and a half months.
Contract standing: Simmons was getting into the second season of a five-year, $177 million deal (no choices) when he requested out and was halfway via that season when he was traded.
*Contract info offered by Spotrac
So what does historical past inform us?
Star participant trades (usually) take some time
While there are examples on each ends of the timeline spectrum, the common size of time with these examples is 88.4 days. As it stands, Durant is six weeks into this newest star saga. Among this group, Anthony’s scenario (six months) took the longest to resolve, adopted by Simmons (5 and a half months).
Star gamers (usually) ask out later of their respective contracts
Of the ten gamers cited, solely Simmons (who was getting into Year 2 and had 4 seasons left on his deal) requested out with greater than two seasons left on his deal (with participant choices factored in). Of these 9, 5 requested out getting into their second-to-last season or throughout it (Howard, Davis, Harden, Irving and George), and the opposite 4 (Anthony, Paul, Leonard and Butler) waited till the summer time heading into that closing marketing campaign on their deal to request a commerce.
In principle, that Durant has 4 years left on his deal ought to incentivize suitors to place much more on the desk to safe his companies. But in actuality, no crew ought to need Durant on its roster if he doesn’t wish to be there. No crew can afford to surrender a treasure trove of gamers and property solely to see Durant both sad or, even worse, sitting out.
Star gamers don’t at all times get what they need
Of the ten gamers highlighted, 9 had most well-liked locations that have been both recognized on the time of the commerce request or have been revealed after the deal was completed (Simmons was the outlier). Of that group, 4 have been traded to a crew that was recognized to be a prime desire (Anthony, Davis, Harden and Irving) whereas 5 (Paul, Howard, Leonard, Butler and George) weren’t.
There’s nothing typical about this Durant scenario although, so who is aware of what would possibly come subsequent? After all these years of on-court excellence which have cemented his repute as an all-time nice, he’s making the mistaken sort of historical past right here now.
Hollinger: Kevin Durant wants out, but he’s short on leverage
Schiffer: Trade ultimatum raises more questions than answers for Nets
Harper: A timeline of the Kevin Durant saga
Haller: Kevin Durant and the Suns’ cruel summer
(Photo of Kevin Durant and James Harden: Dustin Satloff / Getty Images)