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NBA team exec suggests Kevin Durant more likely to retire than return to Brooklyn Nets

Andrew Buller-Russ
Kevin Durant
Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

It was just last weekend when reports emerged of Kevin Durant demanding that the Brooklyn Nets either fire their head coach and general manager or trade the former MVP to a different team. Aside from Nets majority owner Joe Tsai’s response, which essentially backed Steve Nash as coach and Sean Marks as GM, we haven’t heard squat regarding a potential Durant trade.

Although we’re still months away from the start of the regular season, which gives the Nets and Durant plenty of time to reach a resolution, one NBA executive casts serious doubt on their ability to mend fences.

As Marc Stein recently laid out, there’s even a belief in some circles that Durant would much rather retire than return for another year in a Nets uniform.

“During summer league in Las Vegas, one of the most well-connected team executives I speak to regularly insisted to me that, based on what he was hearing, Kevin Durant was more apt to retire than play again for the Brooklyn Nets. This was in early July.

I told the tipster that I simply couldn’t believe that. I was a loyal subscriber to the theory that Durant The Hooper loves playing basketball way too much to adopt such a stance. Now? More than a month later? Attaching the R-word to Durant still comes across as serious hyperbole, but it is certainly getting easier to envision him refusing to report to training camp.”

Marc Stein on Kevin Durant rumors

As Stein mentions, the Nets are set to report to training camp for their annual Media Day on September 26, and their first practice will take place on the following day. Will Durant be there along with Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, and his teammates? Or will Durant soon be able to call other stars his teammates instead?

Related: Evaluating the likelihood of a Kevin Durant trade to the Boston Celtics

What will come of Kevin Durant’s trade request?

kevin durant
SARAH PHIPPS/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK

We know coming up with a fair trade for Kevin Durant isn’t an easy task. He’s one of the best players in basketball and arguably one of the greatest scorers of all time. You just don’t find 6-foot-10 basketball players with as smooth of a jump shot as KD has.

Though Durant may not have as much pull as he hoped, he’s still one of the faces of the NBA, and clearly he’s shown he’s not afraid to try and pull strings to get his way. But what happens if September nears, and there’s still no movement on the Durant trade front?

If Durant hasn’t been traded by then (late Sept.), there is a growing expectation in league circles that he will continue trying to cause as much of a ruckus behind the scenes to try to prod the Nets into lowering their asking price at last to facilitate a deal.

Marc Stein continues on Kevin Durant trade rumors

I personally don’t see how Durant’s trade value isn’t already at an all-time low. Not because his play has slipped. Not at all.

His value around the league is down, only because other teams know the Nets are dealing with a ticking time bomb. As the calendar continues to turn, the closer the season gets, the more urgency the front office will operate with, which could include reducing their asking price.

If Durant really is done with the Nets, there’s just no way they can demand top dollar as a trade return, because other teams know they don’t have a choice. It’s either trade Durant, or get into a Ben Simmons in Philly situation where he refuses to play. They can’t afford that either.

Basically, other teams around the NBA are calling Brooklyn’s bluff. They may not want to trade their best player, but it sounds as if they may not have a choice.

Related: Kevin Durant vs Carmelo Anthony: Draymond Green gives ‘Melo’ the edge