When Kevin Durant announced his decision to join the Brooklyn Nets, it didn’t sound like there would be many moving parts. After working through a few conditions, the Golden State Warriors reached a sign-and-trade to ship the former MVP to the Eastern Conference.
Durant didn’t finish his career in Golden State on a positive note. The perennial All-Star decided that his next move would be to play alongside Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn.
The Warriors replaced Durant with D’Angelo Russell, who came along in a complex sign-and-trade. Surprisingly enough, Durant actually dictated how each side would handle the negotiations.
ESPN insider Brian Windhorst revealed some interesting details about how the trade went down.
It turns out that Durant didn’t believe it’d be fair if he was traded for only Russell.
As a result, there were a series of squeezes put on the Warriors, a position with which they are not at all familiar. First, Durant initially balked at being traded for Russell straight up, multiple sources said. He didn’t think it was a fair deal, and in this case, the Warriors had to not just satisfy the Nets, but also Durant.
Leverage was applied by the player, and Golden State had to include a first-round pick before Durant would agree to sign off. The Warriors begrudgingly gave it up and did so with a heavy condition: If the pick falls within the top 20 next year, they don’t have to send it, and instead will only give Brooklyn a second-round pick … in six years. It’s one of the most unusual pick protections the NBA has seen recently.
Brooklyn also requested that Golden State took on Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham to help clear extra space to sign DeAndre Jordan.
It’s an odd breakup for Durant and the Warriors.