Latest NBA Leads

Kendrick Perkins: Kevin Durant Trade Request is a 'Scare Tactic' to Help Kyrie Irving

Liam McKeone
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages
facebooktwitter

There has been no movement on the Kevin Durant trade front since everything went down late last week. There are numerous reasons why that is, but the most obvious is that there's no rush. Durant demanded his trade hours before free agency, and now that the initial rush is over all the NBA teams are settling in for a long summer of negotiation with the Brooklyn Nets. KD will likely end up somewhere else by next season if his stance doesn't change, but given his four-year contract the Nets aren't going to be hasty and neither are all the other teams, who probably believe they can wait out the Nets and get a better deal.

Since it is July and the KD trade story is the most interesting in sports right now, it took center stage for Tuesday's edition of NBA Today on ESPN. Kendrick Perkins took a unique angle on the situation and basically said the request isn't real and that KD is only asking as a scare tactic to help Kyrie Irving create leverage.

Perkins has a good point about the timing of the trade request making no sense. KD knows as well as anybody that he has no leverage due to the extension he signed last offseason that doesn't have a no-trade clause. The only way he can force the Nets to get rid of him if nobody is willing to give up a grandfather offer that the franchise cannot refuse is causing a huge stink by either sitting out or showing up out of shape and playing less than he's capable of, AKA the James Harden strategy. The former is a possibility but the latter seems unlikely because if we know anything about Kevin Durant it's that the man loves playing basketball like nothing else. Regardless of how happy he is, he's going to be KD when he's on the hardwood.

Then there's the Kyrie side of things. Irving is at odds with the Nets after they held fast in their refusal to give him a huge extension following three seasons of either injury or extenuating circumstances hamstringing his availability. The superstar point guard was presumably not happy about that but couldn't find any interested parties for a sign-and-trade so he opted into his $36 million player option. He didn't officially request a trade but the widely-held assumption is that if KD is gone, so is Irving. Yet there is understandably far less interest in Irving than Durant, so his best hope for a huge deal is to convince the Nets to give it to him.

It would be fascinating if this ended up just being a big game of chicken where there is an unspoken agreement that KD will drop the trade request and suit up next year if Irving gets his money. It would be an absurd power play from a superstar that we've never seen play out publicly like this and it also feels like a dumb decision by Durant. Putting everything on the line for a guy who might be available for half the season? No matter how good they could be in the playoffs, that feels like a huge risk that could lead to him ending up somewhere he doesn't have a hope at competing for a championship anytime soon.

None of this is super likely because it sounds like a made-for-television storyline rather than a real scenario with real people. But it's not as crazy as it sounds from where we're sitting considering the parties involved.

facebooktwitter