Asked on Monday about that possibility, head coach Jacque Vaughn said that’s not something he has talked to Durant about and he doesn’t plan to do so. In Vaughn’s view, as long as the Nets can continue to show they’re capable of competing with the best teams in the East, there’s no reason for Durant to seek a change of scenery.
“At the end of the day, Kevin wants to win,” Vaughn said on Monday, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “That’s always been our goal. He wants to win at shootaround, he wants to win any game of the week. That’s why he loves to play and that’s why he wants to play 82 games. That will be our holy grail. We’ll continue to try to put a group out that wins and until there’s something for me to be concerned about, then I’ll carry on business as usual.”
While the Nets added two solid role players in their Irving trade, their championship upside probably took a hit as a result of that deal, so the team has been exploring further roster upgrades, as we detailed on Monday. According to Ian Begley of SNY.tv, before trading Irving, the Nets had also remained in touch with the Hawks about John Collins and had spoken to multiple teams about Joe Harris and Patty Mills.
Although it’s possible Durant could push for a change of scenery again, most people around the NBA don’t expect that to happen this week, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said in a podcast with colleague Brian Windhorst (YouTube link), especially since the Nets’ additions of Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith signaled a desire to continue building a roster around Durant that’s capable of contending — Finney-Smith is a player KD likes and wanted Brooklyn to acquire if the team made a deal with Dallas, Lowe stated.
Here’s more from around the Atlantic:
- Following up on reports suggesting that the Nets were talking to the Raptors about Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and Fred VanVleet, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype says Toronto “covets” Brooklyn center Nic Claxton, having also attempted to acquire him at least season’s trade deadline. Ben Simmons and multiple first-round picks have also come up in the Nets’ trade discussions with the Raptors, Scotto adds.
- The Athletic’s Jared Weiss and Jay King take a look at what could be on tap for the Celtics at the trade deadline, considering whether it’s realistic to expect them to make a play for Durant and noting that a deal for a center remains the team’s most likely move. Weiss and King also examine Grant Williams‘ up-and-down play and conclude it still doesn’t make sense for Boston to trade him, despite a report from Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer stating that teams are inquiring on Williams.
- While Daryl Morey is always a good bet to make some sort of move at the trade deadline, the Sixers president of basketball operations tells Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice that he’s not expecting to make a huge splash this week. “I think it’s very unlikely we’re involved in anything big,” Morey said. “It could easily be that we continue to just develop chemistry and then have the group we have. I and (general manager) Elton (Brand) and everyone feels a responsibility in an important year like this to see if we can find anyone who can upgrade the team.”