I’m Not that Surprised the Trade Market for Kevin Durant Has Been Underwhelming Thus Far

KD is now demanding a trade from the Nets, and will be headed to his 4th team. Every time he’s left a team, the narrative is always spun that one of his former teammates was the problem that caused KD to have to head for greener pastures.

Russ was the problem in OKC. Draymond was the problem in Golden State. Now Kyrie is the problem in Brooklyn. It’s always somebody else who’s the problem.

But what if KD is part of the problem, too?

I’m starting to think that’s the case. I’m starting to think KD is low-key toxic. At this point, his track record speaks for itself.

People really think KD is going to get along with Chris Paul in Phoenix? Or Jimmy Butler in Miami?

Come on.

Kevin Durant has a well-documented history of bolting the second things start to get a little rocky in the locker room.

I’m sorry, but this dude needs to be recognized for what he is: a high-maintenance drama queen, and arguably the biggest in the NBA. He’s never happy anywhere.

I’m officially out on KD. He brings way more drama than he’s worth.

I’m done being wowed by his unblockable jump shot, and this IDEA that he’s the most unstoppable offensive player of all time.

Really? If that’s the case then why has he been stopped so many times before in the playoffs? The only reason he has two rings is because he was on an unbeatable superteam and couldn’t be doubled. He could only win it all when he was virtually guaranteed to win.

Somehow, the 2022 playoffs have already been subject to revisionist history and it’s now apparently all Kyrie’s fault the Nets got swept by the Celtics in the first round. The Nets losing is now being blamed on Kyrie not being with the team for most of the regular season–the Nets couldn’t build cohesion because Kyrie wasn’t available, people are saying.

No, the Nets lost because KD played like trash against Boston.

No more revisionist history.

He averaged 28-6-6 on 38.6% field goal shooting. He averaged more than 5 turnovers a game. Dude had 25 assists and 21 turnovers in the series.

His only remotely decent game was Game 4, when his team was already down 3-0. But it wasn’t even that good of a game: he had 39-7-9, but on 13-31 shooting. He was 3-11 from three. I’m sorry but that’s just not a good game. The Nets were down 12 going into the 4th–it wasn’t like KD was keeping them in the game or anything.

Game 1 he had 23 points on 24 shots and 6 turnovers. Kyrie, on the other hand, actually played well in Game 1: he had 39-5-6 with 4 steals on 12-20 shooting. The Nets lost the game by one point–remember the Tatum buzzer-beater? The one where KD was completely asleep on defense? That wouldn’t have even mattered if KD actually had a decent game. KD was the one who let Kyrie down in that game.

In Game 2, Kyrie didn’t have a good game at all: 4-13 for 10 points. But KD was 4-17 for 27 points. The only reason he actually had a decent scoring output was because he got sent to the line 20 times. Brooklyn was actually up 5 going into the 4th quarter of Game 2, but they got outscored 29-17 in the quarter by Boston. KD? He was 0-5 from the floor in the 4th quarter.

Then, in the pivotal Game 3 coming back home, in which Brooklyn could either go down 3-0 and be all but dead, or claw their way back into the series, KD goes a pathetic 6-11 from the floor for 16 points. He only got to the line twice in that game. How do you lay an egg like that in the playoff home opener when you’re already down 2-0? How do you only get up 11 shots?

I’m out on KD. As soon as he runs into any bit of adversity, he bails–even if he brought a lot of that adversity on himself.

Dude shits the bed in the playoffs, and now he wants out. Because obviously it’s the Brooklyn Nets organization’s fault he played like trash against Boston.

The worst part of it all is that KD has the talent to be the GOAT. He could be a triple double machine, he could average 4 blocks a game if he wanted.

He just doesn’t have the right mentality, I don’t think. I don’t think he’s mentally tough. And I don’t think he’s as committed as he should be. How come he and Giannis had almost the exact same build when they each came into the league, but Giannis looks like this now:

And KD looks like this:

LeBron was skinny like KD when he was in high school, too:

How come Giannis and LeBron both hit the weight room and got jacked, while KD still has largely the same build as he did when he was 19?

No way, man. KD could’ve been the actual GOAT if he really wanted to be.

People need to stop calling KD a top-5 player in the league. He’s a top-5 talent, for sure, but he’s not a top-5 player. Not in my book. He doesn’t have the intangibles it takes to be a true superstar.

If you subtract the Golden State years, KD’s playoff career has been defined by high-profile failure. The Thunder lost in 5 to the Heat in the 2012 Finals. They blew the 3-1 lead to Golden State in 2016. And then the Nets got swept by Boston this year.

His finest moment was last year against the Bucks in the second round after Kyrie went down and Harden was playing on one leg. He had that 48 point triple-double, which was a masterpiece of a game, except the whole time, I was thinking: why doesn’t he just do this all the time? It was more frustrating than anything else. Sure, Milwaukee played defense in such a way that they basically let him have all those looks (their strategy was to let him get his and dare the rest of the team to hit their shots), but he still had some all-time great playoff performances.

And if his foot was a few inches back on that infamous shot at the end of Game 7, maybe we’d be having a different conversation here. But it wasn’t. And then he had a chance to win that game in OT, but guess what? He went 0-6 from the floor and the Bucks won.

Now that I think about it, KD really is everything LeBron’s haters think LeBron is: mentally weak, not a killer, runs from adversity, always tries to stack the deck in his favor, flaky. The problem is that most LeBron haters, out of necessity, have to worship KD as the “Best Player in the World” because for the past 10 years, he’s been seen as the only player even close to LeBron’s level. So if anyone was going to de-throne LeBron, it was going to be KD, they thought.

Nope. Not a chance. KD will never be on LeBron’s level. LeBron has never requested a trade, and he’s won a Championship for every city he’s played in.

Honestly, I don’t know if KD is on Steph’s level, either. Steph certainly has his flaws, but he’s way more of a leader than KD is. I’d rather build my franchise around Steph than KD.

I don’t know what’s going to happen with KD in terms of his trade. Apparently there’s talk that it’s been a surprise to the Nets just how disappointing most of the offers coming their way for him are.

Brian Windhorst says the Nets thought it would be a bidding war the likes of which the league had never seen, with teams tripping over themselves to offer a king’s ransom for Durant. But that hasn’t really materialized thus far. There’s a lot of interest in him, to be sure, but it’s not at the level the Nets were expecting when KD first made his trade request public on June 30. The Nets have been underwhelmed by the offers that have come in thus far.

Maybe teams see KD the way I see him: he’s not top-flight level superstar. He’s a level below that. He does not automatically turn you into a championship contender. He is not a franchise cornerstone player. He is not going to be the heart and soul of your locker room.

He’s 34, arguably past his prime, and guess what? History shows that as soon as he gets the slightest bit uncomfortable, and as soon as adversity strikes, he’s going to bail on you.

I’m sure someone is going to trade for him and give up a ton to get him. But it doesn’t really surprise me that the trade market for him is cooler than the Nets thought it would be.

All this talk about KD back to the Warriors: stop it. Just stop it.

It happened in 2016 due to a massive anomaly that saw the NBA salary cap spike dramatically at the same time as the Warriors had Steph Curry, the back-to-back MVP, playing on one of the most undervalued contracts a superstar player has ever been signed to. Due to Steph’s ankle injuries in the early part of his career, he didn’t get that massive rookie contract extension from the Warriors. In 2015, his 6th season in the NBA and when he won his first MVP, he was making $10 million, which was about half the going rate for a top-10 player in the league. In 2016, the year they went 73-9, he was making $11.3 million.

In other words: KD should never have been able to join the Warriors. It was a perfect storm for them, where the stars aligned just right and opened the door to the most objectively unfair move in NBA history: a league MVP and guaranteed Hall of Famer joining a 73-9 team that had just been to Game 7 of the Finals, and that had won the Championship a year before.

Now, this time around would be different: the Warriors would be giving up Wiggins, Poole, Kuminga and Wiseman (or something like that) for KD. In other words, some role players and a guy in Wiggins who on some nights is their second-best player, but on other nights is their 5th-best player. I have no doubt in my mind these guys–Wiggins and Poole in particular–are as coveted as they are because they are playing at their absolute maximum potential in that Golden State Warriors system. In other words, the angles and lighting are just right, they found that perfect Instagram filter, and they look like 10s, even though in reality, on another team–without Steve Kerr’s system, without Steph Curry’s gravity–they are not going to be anywhere near as good as they were this past season.

And apparently KD is “open” to the idea of returning to Golden State, at least according to Chris Broussard. Because apparently, when it comes to making the weakest, most bitch-made moves in NBA history, KD of 2022 is about to tell his 2016 self, “Hold my beer.”

“You thought it was a bitch-made move for me to go to Golden State in 2016 after they went 73-9 and came back from 3-1 on me in the Western Conference Finals? Watch this: I’m about to crawl back to Golden State after leaving them in 2019, failing miserably at winning on my own in Brooklyn, a month after the Warriors just won another NBA title without me, and beat the team that swept my sorry ass out of the playoffs.”

So in other words, don’t be surprised if KD goes back to Golden State. It’s a move tailor-made for KD.

Do I actually think it’s going to happen? No. I think KD has too much pride.

But if he wants the easy route to a Championship, Golden State is the move once again.

Just when you thought Jeanie Buss could sink no lower as an NBA team owner, she tweets this out:

I don’t want to rag on Kobe. But this tends to happen when people die: they become saints in our minds, and we forget about all their flaws. We paint this overly-idealized picture of them and then compare everything in our lives to those rose-tinted memories.

  • When Kobe allegedly raped that woman in Colorado in 2003. Was that putting team over self?
  • When Kobe demanded a trade in 2007, was that team over self?
  • When Kobe forced Shaq out of LA in 2004, was that team over self? The TEAM would have been better served with Shaq and Kobe remaining together.
  • When Kobe was the highest paid player in the league for the final 7 years of his career despite not being an elite player for 4 of them–was that putting team over self?

But there are just so many questions about this tweet.

  • What does she mean when she says, “that I’m not allowed to”? Who is not allowing her to speak, and about what? She’s the owner of the team. She answers to no one. Who is forbidding her from speaking and explaining all these mysterious things?
  • Greatest Laker ever? Well, that’s debatable. I would probably say Magic was the greatest Laker ever because of where the franchise was when he arrived vs. where it was when he retired. And then the fact that he stuck around and represented the team, contributing in various ways, over the 30 or so years since he retired. Sadly, Kobe will never get the chance to do that, but Magic should still get credit for everything he’s done for that franchise, both during his playing years and after.
  • “Your rewards would come if you valued team goals over your own then everything would fall into place.” Fall into place, just magically? Poof, presto, everything is perfect if you just put the team’s goals over your own? That would require a competent front office and ownership team, which the Lakers currently do not have. Jeanie is probably the most nepotistic owner in the NBA. Why doesn’t she put team over self and tell her BFFs Kurt and Linda Rambis (and Phil Jackson) that they’re not allowed to be decisionmakers anymore. Why doesn’t she find a better GM than Rob Pelinka? Why didn’t she approve the re-sign of Alex Caruso last summer? It would have cost more in the luxury tax, but she let him go to Chicago because she didn’t want to foot the bill. The team would’ve benefitted, but instead her own personal financial interests won out. Doesn’t sound very “team over self” to me.
  • “All can reply”. Oh, why thank you, your grace. Thank you for granting us peons the privilege of replying to your tweet.

The tone of this tweet is cryptic and deflective–even though she’s the owner of the team, she’s trying to portray herself as not the final decision-maker. She’s trying to portray herself as a sympathetic figure. “Oh, if only Kobe were still around, things would be so much better…”

I agree that the world would be a better place if Kobe were still in it, but that’s not the point Jeanie seems to be making here. It seems like she’s taking a cryptic shot at LeBron here, and for the life of me, I don’t know why. If it weren’t for LeBron, AD wouldn’t be on the Lakers. The Lakers wouldn’t be about to get Kyrie Irving. They wouldn’t have won the 2020 NBA Championship. Jeanie should be thanking LeBron every day for saving her sorry-ass franchise.

Instead, she’s basically insinuating that her franchise is a mess because of LeBron, and that he doesn’t have the leadership skills of Kobe Bryant.

I’m assuming this has something to do with the Kyrie Irving situation. Klutch is probably pushing the Lakers to make the trade for Kyrie, and I’m guessing she and Pelinka and her brain trust are reluctant to part with their precious 2027 and 2029 first round draft picks.

Maybe there’s a split between the Jeanie inner circle and Klutch over the very idea of bringing Kyrie Irving on board. I could see this being the case, however, upon further examination, it doesn’t make much sense at all. We’re all in agreement that the Lakers are unanimous in their desire to get rid of Russell Westbrook by any means possible, right? The Kyrie trade with Brooklyn would accomplish that. Sure, the Kyrie experiment could blow up, but there’s also the history of LeBron and Kyrie playing together. In case Jeanie Buss is unaware, that worked out pretty well. And if it goes south and the Lakers choose not to re-sign him next offseason, I guess the downside is they’re out two first round picks.

But wouldn’t they rather roll the dice with Kyrie? The alternative is keeping Westbrook–and they know that’s not going to work.

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