Nets owner Joe Tsai backs Steve Nash, Sean Marks after report of Kevin Durant ultimatum
Kevin Durant is not happy with Brooklyn Nets management and still wants to be traded barring a change, The Athletic's Shams Charania reports.
Per the report, Durant met with team owner Joseph Tsai over the weekend and told him to choose between himself and the pairing of head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks. Durant doesn't have faith in the direction of the team, according to the report.
Hours after the Monday afternoon report, Tsai tweeted that the Nets "front office and coaching staff have my support."
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
Durant previously requested a trade from the Nets in June following a tumultuous season that resulted in a first-round playoff sweep to the Boston Celtics. The Nets have reportedly set a substantial price for Durant on the trade market that thus far has not been met by interested teams.
Durant is entering the first year of a four-year, $198 million contract extension he signed with the Nets in 2021. He's signed through the 2025-26 season.
Durant, 33, is approaching his 16th NBA season and remains one of the game's elite offensive weapons. In 55 games last season, he averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists while shooting 51.8% from the field and 38.3% from 3-point distance. He's been limited in his return from an Achilles tendon tear that sidelined him for the 2019-20 season, with injuries restricting him to 90 regular-season games over the last two seasons in Brooklyn.
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The Nets hired Nash in 2020 to lead the rebuild around Durant and Kyrie Irving, who both joined the franchise the previous season, Kenny Atkinson's last as head coach. The hiring arrived as a surprise around the NBA as Nash — a Hall of Fame point guard — had no prior head coaching experience when he took over a team built to compete for NBA championships. The Nets are 92-62 under Nash and haven't advanced beyond the Eastern Conference semifinals in his two seasons.
Marks took over as general manager in 2016 under previous owner Mikhail Prokhorov. He oversaw the acquisition of Durant and Irving. He also brokered the trade to acquire James Harden from the Houston Rockets and the subsequent deadline deal last season that sent Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Ben Simmons. Simmons did not play for Brooklyn last season amid myriad issues, including a lingering back injury.
Tumult has surrounded the Nets since their first-round playoff exit with Durant and Irving's status with the team moving forward unclear. Irving's refusal to meet New York's COVID-19 vaccine standards led him to be frequently sidelined and was partially blamed for derailing the Nets' season. Marks said after the season that he wants players who can "be available" while casting doubt over Irving's future with the team.
The Nets and Irving did not agree to a long-term extension before Irving eventually opted into a $36.9 million option for the upcoming season. He's slated to become a free agent in 2023. Meanwhile, Durant's trade request continues to hover over the short- and long-term future of the franchise.