Maybe there is hope for Kevin Durant staying with the Nets after all.
It won’t be retirement stopping him, at least.
Durant has asked Nets owner Steve Tsai to be traded during the offseason, but also left his boss with ultimatums for him to possibly stay in Brooklyn as he has lost faith in the team’s leadership.
One of those conditions, as The Post confirmed earlier this month, is for coach Steve Nash to be fired and other reports stated he wants general manager Sean Marks to go as well. With them both still employed and the Nets’ trade price for Durant appearing to be exceedingly high, the former MVP, who signed a four-year, $198 million extension last August, has yet to be dealt.
The Post reported that Durant’s discontent with the franchise grew over time as, among other things, he was not consulted on the Nets’ firing of assistant coach and director of player development Adam Harrington at the end of last season.
All of it has at least sparked speculation about what happens if the Nets keep Durant on their roster without any changes to start the season.
NBA insider Marc Stein reported on his Substack Monday that one well-connected NBA executive was hearing in July that Durant was more likely to retire than play for the Nets this season. Stein said he pushed back at the notion — citing Durant’s love for playing — with the exec, who also stated that if Durant was not moved he would “Continue trying to cause as much of a ruckus behind the scene” in an attempt to get the Nets to lower their asking price.
Durant took to Twitter later on Monday to dispute the report — at least the part about him hanging up his sneakers anytime soon.
“I know most people will believe unnamed sources over me but if it’s anyone out there that’ll listen, I don’t plan on retiring anytime soon,” Durant wrote. “S–t is comical at this point.”
Stein chose to respond to Durant’s tweet by saying he “told the exec who told me it could not be believed” and that he just used it as an anecdote to get into the latest on Durant’s situation. He said he should have worded the opening graph better but should have known the “aggregation machine” would focus on the retirement angle.
The Nets have reportedly asked for a king’s ransom in return for Durant. The Boston Globe reported last week that Brooklyn initially asked Boston for both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and later countered with Brown, Marcus Smart and a number of draft picks.
There also also been rumor the 76ers could be a potential landing spot for Durant with he and former Nets teammate James Harden’s relationship on “good terms” after Harden forced his way out of Brooklyn last season.