Kevin Durant is now resigned to be a Brooklyn Net, after he and his agent Rich Kleiman met with Joe Tsai, Steve Nash and Sean Marks and “agreed to move forward with our partnership.” I suppose there are more flowery ways to say, “and we told him to pound sand,” but under the time, political and public relations pressures involved, this will have to do.
This is clearly a rejection of the Memphis Grizzlies and general manager Zach Kleiman, no relation, who hadn’t even gotten an opportunity to tell Marks that the asking price for Durant was preposterous and that he could never ever abandon Desmond Bane. Memphis was the last of the 14 teams to be mentioned as potential landing spots as recently as Monday, and while we could list all the players mentioned in all these trades that never happened, we’ll leave that to you while you’re pretending to pay attention to the weekly staff meeting. Mostly, though, it was what happens when player empowerment of the Durant kind meets the force field of a stubborn owner who’s felt his shoes being squeezed.
At least that will be the principal takeaway from this standoff to no place. Durant had finally run out of addressable demands and will now spend the next few months denying he ever asked for a trade and mocking the media for making a molehill out of a molehill. It’s a bit like standing outside your garage with an empty gas can and soot all over your clothes and saying you have no idea how the fire started.
But that’s a media story more than a basketball story, and more proof that an unfounded rumor is as good as an actual fact in the modern landscape of shoveling horseshit and calling it a scoop. It’s all part of the inverted pyramid of news gathering, which starts with asking fans what they think, because after all, fans know less than media people who know less than players and agents who know less than team executives. In the end, everyone declares that they knew it all along, whatever the “it” actually was.
The next pivot for the Nets is to start acting like the putative favorites to win the Eastern Conference as though none of the Durant drama ever happened—because it didn’t. Durant filled an entire offseason in an already busier than normal NBA summer, all proving what happens when a team with no leverage and a player with no leverage have a stare down. What’s left is a lot of blinking. Except of course for Tsai, who never had to back down from anything because all he did was successfully do nothing.
And for those poor bastards who had to follow this story, since there was no actual covering it, there is only the realization that you have to be faithful to your cardio regime to stay in top shape to chase your own tail for hours each day.
As for the 16 teams who never got mentioned in a Durant rumor, well, the relevant advice I suppose is to try harder the next time. Get just good enough to suck less than you used to, pile up picks and call 1-800-Woj’n’Shams. If you can’t be a rumor, why not float one?