Kevin Durant being on the trade market is a development very few people would have expected heading into this offseason. There was always tension between Kyrie Irving and the Nets, with Irving refusing to sign a contract extension. However, KD signed his extension at the start of the 2021-22 season and lived to regret it.
If KD never signed that contract, he would be able to exercise free agency right now and move to whichever team he wants. But his contract extension means he is completely dependent on the Brooklyn Nets to pick his future destination for a team that would provide the best trade package.
Considering the investment from the Nets into creating the KD-Kyrie duo, this is a very sad end to their championship window after just one playoff series win over the last 3 years. Skip Bayless believes the Nets should force KD to return to the team and win next season with Irving in his final year and Ben Simmons's debut for the team.
Skip makes a good point in terms of the control Brooklyn can exert over Durant with the 4-year contract. The reality of the situation is different, as the NBA is a superstar-driven league. What the best players want, they usually get. We even saw that with Ben Simmons, who isn't the same caliber as KD but sat out a season with Philadelphia to force a trade.
Irving will definitely be leaving even if the Nets force him to stay for one more season. The morale of this roster wouldn't be conducive to a championship-winning team and the management realizes that.
The Nets shouldn't rush to trade Durant as the longer they wait, teams will adjust their free agency around what assets Brooklyn would need to make the trade happen. That makes the market move a little slower but ensures that the Nets get what they want in this position.