In his quest to bring a championship to the Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant is starting the season 0-1

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Kevin Durant lost.

That’s the conclusion of the statement Tuesday from the Brooklyn Nets announcing that the organization and its disgruntled superstar “agreed to continue our partnership” after a meeting in Los Angeles between the two sides.

This is the partnership that Durant demanded to be disbanded a few weeks ago so that he could be sent to the team of his choice. It was a meeting with the owner, Joe Tsai, and the two men Durant had demanded to be fired if he were to stay – head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks.

Utilities?

Now the divorcees-to-be claim they are “focusing on basketball, with one common goal in mind: to build a lasting franchise to bring a championship to Brooklyn.”

That’s a breathtaking comedown for Durant and a seismic shift from the normal course of events when NBA superstars make demands, however far-fetched they may seem at the time.

Perhaps two of the most glaring examples of player power amok were close and dear enough to the Nets that they had finally had enough—for themselves and perhaps now in a power shift in the NBA at large. First it was James Harden who wanted to leave Houston, then, ironically, Brooklyn, to finally land in Philadelphia. And second, but connected, it was Ben Simmons who refused to play for the Sixers and went to Brooklyn, where… he still hasn’t played a minute of basketball.

Both players got what they wanted. So is almost every other superstar when they’re unhappy — a list that includes Anthony Davis, Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, and others.

Now there’s a precedent for teams looking to regain some of the upper hand, a move made possible in large part by the ham-fisted way KD handled things. Power is a formidable weapon when used wisely, because if you don’t know how to handle it, you can suddenly find it in someone else’s hands.

When this mess first unfolded in July with Durant’s first now-failed ultimatum, we argued that the Nets were simply tell him no. That’s as true now as it was then, but Durant certainly made it easy for Brooklyn.

This is a world-class player with four years left on his contract, someone who was always far less likely than Simmons to miss time because, as anyone in the NBA will tell you, Durant loves to hoop. It’s a passion, a commendable and important part of his all-time greatness, and he would never voluntarily miss time from the game he loves.

That was the first point in favor of Nets. It also helped that the Kyrie Irving debacle meant that the Nets would always try to fix the Durant situation first and – just as importantly – demand a significant return to tear a team apart with the high expectations that come with it. go with a Durant-Kyrie clutch.

This wasn’t a lone superstar squad and no real championship path forward, as Denver Nuggets team Carmelo Anthony, for example, worked his way through a decade ago. The Nets were a contender, at least on paper, and that meant Marks had to get the right return to save his own job.

Sometimes when you don’t have a choice, you have a strange kind of freedom. That’s where the Nets GM was located.

All this was lost to Durant when he unwisely went to London and told Tsai that the owner had to choose between him and Nash and Marks. Here’s a good rule to live by: Don’t try to heavily arm billionaires.

Then, still unable to read the situation accurately, Durant or those around him clearly leaked the ultimatum, trying to pressure Tsai to bend to his will. A second rule to live by, closely linked to the first: Then don’t try to pressure those billionaires publicly after the private strong-arm tactic fails.

Now, it’s true that both sides are getting something out of this, other than making you believe that we’re all-in-this-together-farce they’re trying to sell. While Durant could still be a Net this season, that’s not a slot, and each side can win something over the other in this arrangement.

This statement is a perfect way for Brooklyn to tell the Grizzlies, Celtics, Suns, Heat, and any other potential suitor who has dreamed of a KD acquisition that the prize is the prize. Brooklyn has publicly and vigorously deployed those teams with the best tool to get Durant the deal they want — the threat he will remain.

That’s how you do it, Durant & Co.

And Durant gets something too. He goes to the hoop. He may prep for an NBA season, most likely with the Nets, but perhaps elsewhere, with a (less) distracting training camp and a clear focus on basketball as the keys to a solid start. He likes the game, and he gets to keep playing it, and that’s something.

But don’t let the news disguise that Durant lost the public battle he started in the most public of ways.

The coach he demanded to be fired will still be his coach. The GM he demanded to be fired is still in charge. The team he refused to be a part of still retains its services. And the team owner he was watching showed him what killer power looks like.


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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