The Brooklyn Nets traded one of their superstars away, but it doesn’t seem they will be sending their other superstar to a different team prior to this week’s trade deadline.
Kyrie Irving was sent to the Dallas Mavericks Sunday, leading to speculation Kevin Durant could be the next to go, as Brooklyn begins a total revamp.
Instead, ESPN reported Tuesday Durant and the Nets are having conversations about “the direction of the franchise,” and Brooklyn is telling interested teams that they plan on keeping him.
The Phoenix Suns were reported to be among teams who contacted the Nets following the Irving deal, and Durant also seemed interested in them this past offseason.
However, the Nets don’t seem willing to let go of Durant, who signed a four-year, $194 million extension in the offseason.
Durant is locked in with the Nets until 2026, when he is set to be a free agent at age 38. But, like Irving and James Harden, Durant has been questioning the direction of the Nets for quite some time, and he has reportedly requested a trade in the past.
With Irving traded, Durant is the last one standing from the offseason prior to the 2019-2020 season, when both players decided to join the Nets in hopes they could build a dynasty. Brooklyn had that in mind as well, attempting to build around the two elite scorers.
However, with injuries and off-the-court controversies getting in the way, the Nets have not made it out of the second round in the playoffs since that inaugural season. Durant didn’t play his first year with Brooklyn because he was recovering from a torn Achilles from the previous season with the Golden State Warriors.
The discussions between Durant and the Nets likely revolve around how the organization intends to keep its championship window alive. Durant has his NBA Finals rings and MVP awards, and he wants to continue stacking up the hardware.
It’s hard to replace someone like Irving, who was named an All-Star starter after averaging 27.1 points in 40 games this season. The Nets brought back Spencer Dinwiddie in the deal with Dallas and added Dorian Finney-Smith. Both players, though, are dealing with injuries.
Cam Thomas has emerged the last two games for the Nets, combining for 91 points, including a 47-point performance in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers Monday night. Perhaps more time on the court with Irving gone could bode well for the second-year pro.
The Nets will hope Ben Simmons can get back to his All-Star form. He has averaged just 7.4 points this season. And while Dinwiddie has proven he can go off for points some nights, he’s averaged about 10 points less than Irving (17.7).
Durant continues to play at an All-Star level, being named a starter for the East after putting up 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.
He has been sidelined with an MCL sprain he suffered Jan. 8 but is expected to return soon.
The NBA trade deadline is 3 p.m. Thursday.