August 23, 2022
Well, the Kevin Durant Sixers rumors were short-lived.
Per the Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania, Kevin Durant has met with Nets ownership and will stay put in Brooklyn.
In a statement from Nets GM Sean Marks: "We are focusing on basketball, with one collective goal in mind: build a lasting franchise to bring a championship to Brooklyn."— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 23, 2022
After June 30 trade request, Kevin Durant will stay with the Nets. https://t.co/V0rd8fSQLr
After getting swept out of the playoffs in the first round by Boston, the Nets grew into one of the most highly combustible situations in the NBA as their stars – Durant and Kyrie Irving – were both reported to be on their way out earlier in the summer.
And in the case of Durant, one of the league's greatest scorers, he was rumored to have had the Sixers as one of his desired landing spots in a trade, which would've meant a James Harden reunion and a team-up with Joel Embiid upfront as a potential big three.
Per SNY's Ian Begley, who first reported the Sixers connection:
As of earlier this week, there were high-ranking members of the Sixers who’ve felt strongly about engaging with Brooklyn on a Durant trade. It is unknown if Brooklyn and Philadelphia have made any recent progress on a trade.
Previous reports stated that the Suns were at or near the top of the list of teams Durant would like to be traded to. An offseason trade to Phoenix seems unlikely due to the DeAndre Ayton signing. So what happens now? Well, it's worth noting that, in addition to Boston, Durant also sees Philadelphia as another desired landing spot, per people familiar with the matter. [SNY]
And The Ringer's Bill Simmons (via Bleacher Report), who touched on the relationship between Durant and Harden, which was believed to have deteriorated in Brooklyn, and what it may have meant for the Sixers:
KD and Harden, this is what I heard: They don’t talk after the trade. They basically go radio silent on each other. They run into each other. They hang out all weekend. And by the end of the weekend, KD is sniffing around on Philly [The Ringer / Bleacher Report]
Could the Sixers rumor have been a leverage move? Quite possibly.
For what it's worth, the Nets now have higher odds than the Sixers to win the 2023 NBA title, per SportsBetting.ag.
Brooklyn started out at 14-1 and jumped to 15-2 with the news that Durant is staying, while the Sixers stand pat at 16-1.
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