The news came quickly and quite unexpectedly, Kevin Durant has reportedly withdrawn his request to be traded from the Brooklyn Nets. Does it mean anything for the Detroit Pistons?
A couple weeks after meeting with Brooklyn management, where Durant reiterated his June trade request, which now included a demand that the Nets general manager and coach be fired for him to stay, Durant is now going back to the Barclays Center.
Considering this came directly from the club, not a ‘Woj Bomb’ or ‘Shams says’, it is pretty much official.
Durant has four years left on his Nets contract and that gave Brooklyn leverage as he was on the hook for a long time.
Why the turnaround? I have no inside information but three reasons are logical:
- No team was going to match the astronomical asking price of the Nets for one of the top players in the game. Also, places that Durant would be interested, in like Phoenix and Miami, had contractual problems in which key players could not be part of it.
- With Durant back, Brooklyn has him, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons, maybe the best trio of talent in the NBA outside of Golden State. They also have Joe Harris back from injury and Seth Curry is a reliable shooter. The Nets are probably as good as any team that Durant would go to.
- Training camp is about a month away. If Durant stuck to his trade request, he was going to either have to sit out, or show up under a media firestorm as a disgruntled employee. It was going to be ugly, and now it won’t be.
Does this affect the Detroit Pistons?
It may have.
The Pistons are one of the few NBA teams with salary cap space. While not as much as they had in early July, they have some wiggle room. They also have some easily movable contracts.
WIth a deal as big as trading Kevin Durant, it was most likely not going to be a straight team-to-team transaction. Third parties were going to have to be brought in.
Detroit general manager Troy Weaver has shown he will be more than happy to help facilitate a trade …. for the right price. The New York Knicks basically cleared enough cap space to be able to sign Jalen Brunson by dealing with the Pistons.
The fact Kemba Walker’s contract is still on Detroit’s book’s, even though they reportedly have agree to a buyout months ago, might be a sign Weaver is holding on to it for possible use in a trade.
A young player or a draft pick might have been lost for Detroit, now that Durant is staying put. One nevers knows, but Weaver’s phone is probably a little less busy now.
Another contender in the East
The Pistons are a better team this year, albeit very young, than they have been in a few years, which should make it possible to move up in the standings. Maybe not challenge Milwaukee or Boston for first place but the Play-in tournament could be in play.
To make the play-in, all a team has to do is be 10th out of 15 teams in the conference. Not a high bar.
However, outside of Indiana, all the teams in the Eastern Conference look to have improved themselves. For Detroit to move up in the standings, some teams have to move down.
Brooklyn falling apart, which they seemed to be doing just 24 hours ago, would have helped the Pistons make the post-season. Now, Brooklyn looks like a possible NBA title contender, not a bottom-feeder.
The road to the Play-in just got harder.
Lastly, tickets to Nets games at Little Caesars Arena all of sudden will be harder to get (and the prices on the resale market will skyrocket).
There is no direct affect to the Detroit Pistons, Durant will probably be on the downside of his career by the time Detroit is ready to contend, but it certainly does not help them in the near future.