Kevin Durant and the Nets are going to give it another shot.
In a statement released at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nets general manager Sean Marks announced that Durant had rescinded his trade request and will move forward in Brooklyn. It was a major about-face for the NBA superstar who had requested to be traded from the organization just before NBA free agency opened on June 30 and sent the entire league into a tizzy.
“Steve Nash and I, together with Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai, met with Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman in Los Angeles yesterday,” Marks said in a statement. “We have agreed to move forward with our partnership. We are focusing on basketball, with one collective goal in mind: build a lasting franchise to bring a championship to Brooklyn.”
The news ended what had been a chaotic offseason in Brooklyn that at one point looked as though it would lead to Durant and Kyrie Irving leaving the Nets. Now both players will return after it was reported on Monday that the organization and Irving had worked to mend fences as well.
The latest development in the ongoing saga came seven weeks after Durant had originally requested to be traded and it was only two weeks ago that he had reiterated his desire to be dealt during a meeting with Tsai, in which he reportedly gave him an ultimatum of trading Durant or getting rid of Marks and Nash.
It’s unclear what has changed for Durant over the past two weeks and it was never fully known why the NBA superstar and franchise cornerstone had wanted to depart Brooklyn in the first place. The decision at least takes away the albatross that had been hanging over the franchise for the better part of a month and a half and can allow Marks to build out the rest of the team knowing that Durant, Irving and Ben Simmons will be the centerpieces of the team.
With the dust now about to settle, the Nets will go into training camp once again favored to win an NBA title, but the start to the year will surely be far from distraction-free. Durant and Irving will face the media to start camp and there will be plenty of questions regarding what transpired over the summer.
But the return of Durant ensures that the Nets championship window remained open and even with the headaches that came along with last season, the best version of their product will be on the court next season with Durant and Irving as their go-to tandem.
The two were spotted over the weekend scrimmaging together in Studio City, California and images made their way onto social media.
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Brooklyn’s front office had remained steadfast in how it dealt with trade offers for Durant and Marks and Tsai were adamant about not taking anything less than what they felt was comparable for a player of Durant’s caliber. And the Nets never received an offer they felt was fair as the summer dragged on as did the Durant drama.
Training camp is five weeks away from opening in downtown Brooklyn and the Nets are once again viewed as title contenders.