Kevin Durant probably thought he would be on a new team by now after he requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets at the end of June.
Despite all the rumors that ensued, Durant didn’t end up getting his way and one NBA executive and coach blame the NBA superstar for that, believing Durant completely misplayed his hand and that the strategies he used to try to get out of Brooklyn backfired on him.
“The guy who miscalculated was Kevin Durant, because he took that four-year deal,” a league executive told well-connected NBA writer Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com. “He didn’t take a page out of LeBron’s book and take a shorter-term deal. LeBron bet on himself, and that’s kept him in a leverage position with his team. With all his teams really.
“You can put on pressure when you have an opt-out coming up soon, but it’s a lot harder to scare your team when that team is sitting there holding your signed four-year contract.”
By vocalizing that he wanted to be elsewhere rather than with the Nets, one former NBA coach thinks Durant didn’t realize he diminished his trade value almost immediately, which made pulling off a deal that much harder.
“The moment a player comes out and mouths those famous words: ‘Hey, man, get me the (expletive) up out of here,’ he just discounted himself,” the anonymous coach told Bulpett. “He just hurt not only his prospect for a trade happening quickly, but he has just put his franchise in a position of losing leverage, because people think, ‘Well, I get a fire sale price, because that guy has already indicated he wants out of there.'”
With Durant trying to create leverage, he reportedly made the massive ask to Brooklyn ownership that he would take away his trade request if the Nets fired coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks.
The Nets didn’t blink, though, leading to another misstep by the 12-time All-Star.
“And then Kevin doubled down on the same stupidity by giving an ultimatum designed to force their hand,” the coach said to Bulpett. “He don’t really feel all that badly about Sean Marks and Steve Nash. He probably really likes them. They pretty much let him have free rein of the franchise. He doesn’t really have a problem with them. But he knew that he was looking for another leverage point to give them greater urgency to trade him even at a discounted price. So he came out with this ultimatum, and Joe Tsai looked at him and said, ‘Nah, bruh. Sorry. Not going to happen.'”