To say that Nets owner Joe Tsai is in a bit of a tough spot, might be an understatement.
If you’re unfamiliar with what exactly that means, here’s a quick refresher of the latest twist in the ongoing offseason drama. On Monday it was reported that disgruntled superstar Kevin Durand had given the Nets owner an ultimatum of either honoring his trade request or firing general manager Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash during a face-to-face meeting in London.
And now that the contents of the meeting are public knowledge, the pressure is on Tsai to decide what to do, though it seems he has picked his side.
“Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets,” he said on social media after the latest bombshell from The Athletic.
Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.
— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) August 8, 2022
For anyone that had held out hope that the meeting last week would possibly give way to a detente between the organization and its most important player, those were surely dashed. Some Nets fans were quick to cast aside Nash and Marks in the interest of trying to appease Durant into staying.
While that is understandable, the question of whether or not that decision would truly be best for the franchise is up in the air. Simply dismissing Marks and Nash may not fix what ailed the chaotic Nets season from last year and prevent it from happening again this year.
Even at the age of 33, Durant is one of the game’s best players right now and the knee-jerk reaction is to scream for ownership to give into Durant’s demands to try to run it back in the hopes of finally winning the franchise’s first NBA title. But with that comes no guarantee they will and what’s to say Durant won’t contemplate departing in the future.
It also raises the question of what general manager and head coach would sign on in Brooklyn knowing Durant holds that much sway to have them shipped off. Durant has tried to dismiss the notion that he has as much power as it’s been speculated he has, but Tsai firing a coach and GM in order to keep Durant would be hard to ignore.
The ultimatum also becomes peculiar because of the seemingly ringing endorsement he gave Nash a few months back after the season ended. Durant appeared to defend Nash’s handling of the team and the circumstances he had to face during a very odd 2021-22 season.
Only four months removed, Durant has changed his tune?
It’s hard to fully understand exactly what has changed for the 12-time NBA All-Star’s view of Brooklyn. He has not spoken publically since after Game 4 of the first round of the playoffs and he avoided reporters during the premiere of the Showtime documentary “NYC Point Gods.”
Whether it was Golden State Warriors winning another title, Steve Nash’s play calling during the season, the drama surrounding Kyrie Irving his refusal to get vaccinated or the Nets’ early playoff exit, we may never fully know his reason for wanting out. But, while Durant had said all the right things publically through a chaotic season, his ultimatum to Tsai has put the Nets in a lose-lose spot.
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Losing Durant is a huge hole to fill, which is essentially impossible, but bowing to the whim of a player who could still decide to exit stage right before his four-year contract extension is up is a tough burden to bear as well if it comes down to it. Tsai has seemly put his position out there where things stand and he has seemed to remain steadfast in that since day 1.
Whatever the Nets decide to do will not make many people happy, but right now it’s deciding between the better of two bad options.