Kevin Durant is the co-star of the NBA's hottest offseason drama.
Adam Silver prefers that he wasn't.
The NBA commissioner held a news conference on Tuesday from the league's owners meetings. He was asked directly about his thoughts on Durant's trade request with the entirety of his four-year $194 million contract extension remaining. He's not happy about it.
"I don’t know whether he requested a trade or demanded one, frankly," Silver said. "This needs to be a two-way street. Teams provide enormous security and guarantees to players, and the expectation in return is that they’ll meet their end of the bargain.
"I’m realistic that there’s always conversations going on behind closed doors between players and their representatives and the teams. But we don’t like to see players requesting trades, and we don’t like to see it playing out the way it is."
Durant's under contract with the Nets through 2026 on a deal he signed less than a year ago. Meanwhile, the Nets are coming off a historically disappointing season, and he wants out. On one hand, it's hard to blame him. James Harden's gone, Kyrie Irving's a disaster of a teammate, and a Nets team that was expected to contend for years is instead falling apart.
On the other hand, Durant just signed his deal. Unlike in the NFL, the money is all guaranteed, and Nets owner Joseph Tsai is entitled to expect some sort of return on his investment. At least that's the point that Silver — whose job is to represent the interests of team owners — was making on Tuesday. He told reporters that the topic will come up during the next round of collective bargaining talks with the players union.
“We intend to discuss with our players association and see if there are remedies for this," Silver said.
While the issue's a debacle for the Nets and a headache for Silver, it's not necessarily bad for the league. The NFL is king of staying in the headlines year-round, but nobody offseasons quite like the NBA at its peak.
But Silver — at least publicly — would rather things be a little bit less interesting.
"Ideally — the basketball was fantastic this last season," Silver said. … "I’d love the focus to be on the play on the floor."