clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Should the Nets trade Kevin Durant or change their GM-head coach combination?

Durant’s meeting with team owner Joe Tsai has put the franchise in a tough spot.

2022 NBA Playoffs - Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics
Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets and Head Coach Steve Nash look on against the Boston Celtics during Round 1 Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs on April 17, 2022 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets have officially been put between a rock and a hard place according to a report from Shams Charania. That report states Kevin Durant met with team owner Joe Tsai and reiterated his request to be traded, but he did say the team could change its GM-head coach combination instead of moving the forward. That would mean Sean Marks and Steve Nash would be out the door. If that request is true, what should the Nets do?

Option 1: Trade Kevin Durant

The Nets can get a huge haul for Durant and successfully relaunch the franchise. Brooklyn doesn’t control its draft capital for a while, so competing is the best option from that standpoint. Ben Simmons is an All-Star guard, and a Durant deal could bring back more young players like Jaylen Brown or Mikal Bridges. The Boston Celtics remain a contender to land Durant and might have the best trade package if they’re willing to include Marcus Smart in the deal.

The Nets would also likely deal Kyrie Irving in this scenario in order to truly pivot from this superstar tandem. Irving has been a problem for Brooklyn and his most recent antics which led to a contract standoff has the franchise in this position. It’s not a clean break but it could be a strong reset.

Option 2: Change the GM-head coach combination

Firing Marks would be tough, because he’s genuinely done a great job with this team. He’s made the moves Durant and Irving requested, including hiring Nash. The head coach hasn’t been bad, but he’s not been good either. Firing him and finding a new option at the helm wouldn’t be terrible and could be the next move anyway if the Nets move forward with trading their stars.

The secondary issue of this would be Durant and Irving’s general mood swings. There’s no predictability with these guys, and that makes this a tough gig for any prospective candidate. Durant would basically have to re-affirm his commitment to the franchise in this path, and there’s no guarantee Irving would follow him along unless there’s a long-term deal on the table again. Have fun telling the incoming general manager what he has to do right off the bat.

Option 3: Do nothing and see how it plays out

The lone advantage the Nets have is time. Durant’s trade value isn’t going to diminish too heavily over the next few months, and he’s under contract for four more seasons with no player option. Brooklyn can wait for the market to settle a bit. The Minnesota Timberwolves overpaid for Rudy Gobert and the New York Knicks might do the same for Donovan Mitchell. The Nets could believe they’d never get equal value for Durant, simply because there wouldn’t be any teams left to overpay for the forward.

In that scenario, the Nets are better off hoping Durant comes back to camp hoping to prove he’s still a star. Irving might also join him as he tries to rebuild his image after failing to find a trade partner. If those two are on the floor with Simmons, the Nets might actually be a decent team and win games. Winning changes the mood in the locker room. It could change how Durant and Irving view their future.