Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant flew overseas this weekend to see team owner Joe Tsai face-to-face and reportedly told the billionaire businessman to get rid of the head coach Steve Nash and the general manager — or to get rid of him.
“Durant stated he does not have faith in the team’s direction, sources said,” per Shams Charania of The Athletic. The news reflects a strong 180-degree turn from Durant after how he openly backed Nash in April, after the Nets were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics.
His about-face mirrors that of his fellow mercurial teammate, Kyrie Irving. Last week, SNY’s Ian Begley reported Irving was “in a good place with the Nets and comfortable” ahead of the 2022-2023 season. But only a few days later, the superstar guard supposedly feels completely different about things.
“Kyrie Irving hates these guys,” an unnamed source told the New York Post. “He feels that Nash is terrible and [Nets general manager Sean Marks] is bad… KD came to the same conclusion.”
The meeting between Durant and Tsai comes a little more than a month after the 12x NBA All-Star first rocked the league with the news that he wants out of Brooklyn. It also coincides with the exact 1-year anniversary of KD’s agreement to a 4-year, $198 million extension with the Nets. “Durant and Tsai spoke in London on Saturday, and sources described the discussion as transparent and professional,” Charania said in his report.
Durant also took in a Travis Scott concert while in the UK, and the 2x NBA champ appeared to be in great spirits. He even partied with his former teammate James Harden, which has sports fans wondering if the pair might consider reuniting for a third try at the chip, this time on the Philadelphia 76ers.
But on Monday evening, Tsai sent out the following tweet: “Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.” And according to sports commentator Shannon Sharpe, Durant had better learn to get comfortable staying in Brooklyn longer than he wants.
“I believe the teams don’t want to help Kevin Durant force his way out… [but] this is a bit too far!” Sharpe said on his daily show Skip and Shannon: Undisputed, with Skip Bayless. “Now dammit, we understand [after] one year [into your extension], when you tell the team, ‘I’m not gonna re-sign, let’s go ahead and try to move me.”
However, Sharpe thinks the other 29 NBA teams are shutting down trade talks for Durant, to stand in support with other team managers and take a stand against players forcing their hand. “I really believe the teams are like ‘It’s either now or never. Either we draw our line in the sand now, or there’s going to be retreat for the foreseeable future,’” Sharpe added.