Brooklyn Nets have to play hard with Kevin Durant’s dream destinations Miami Heat or Phoenix Suns

Here’s a novel idea for Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks as he investigates Kevin Durant’s demands that the Superstar be sold to some very specific teams: To hell with player power.

Say it nicer than that, of course. Use charm and professionalism to tell Rich Kleiman, Durant’s CEO, that they can all work together to reach an amicable settlement. Sing Kumbaya together. Pretend the world is made of puppies and rainbows if you have to. Leak as has already happened that Marks and the Nets intend to work with Durant as they try to find the right return for Brooklyn.

Say what you must. The real task, though, is resisting the temptation to even remotely care that Durant yearns to be next for this or that team, the Heat or the Suns or whatever group of competing teams his wayward draws the eye. durant was a part of the Nets’ power structure and a partner in trying to navigate the choppy waters of Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Ben Simmons and a disappointing year.

Now he’s an asset, a great all-time player at four years old – four! – left under contract. In fact, he’s perhaps the most valuable player on the trade market given those years, one who has allegedly bypassed Marks, going straight to Nets owner Joe Tsai to demand an exit. Allegedly without communicating with the Nets front office all week.

He wants to play hardball?

No problem Kevin. Here’s some hardball for you:

· The Heat, one of the teams on his “wish list,” can’t sell Bam Adebayo to the Nets while Ben Simmons is on Brooklyn’s roster because neither team can carry two players with the intended rookie expansion. And no bam need equal no deal. That’s tough ball and moving Simmons right now would be even more daunting than, say, the Lakers moving on from Westbrook. Also, Bam/Tyler Herro/Duncan Robinson/Picks isn’t enough even if it were possible.

· The potential offers from the Suns – the other “wish-list” team – also add up to an equally unattractive return for a player of Durant’s caliber with so many years left. First, a DeAndre Ayton sign-and-trade would cover the nets. Second, even Ayton, Cam Johnson, Mikal Bridges and draft picks that may be of little value indicate that a CP3 team Durant-Booker’s age is unlikely to be spitting out lottery picks, even for years.

Serious. Basically why on earth would you want last year’s Phoenix Suns but with Simmons traded for Devin Booker and Chris Paul.

No thank you. You.

Several things are happening here at once, and they all point to the need for the networks to roll back a player-buff movement that has morphed into a star-player-all-power movement.

First, Durant, who has a history of injuries and will turn 34 in September, still has those four years on his contract. There’s not the slightest chance that if KD had blown his MCL, or otherwise seriously injured himself, or simply declined in terms of performance, he would have woken up in Brooklyn one morning and agreed to give some of the money back. It’s a contract. It’s a deal. This gave him security in the event of bad luck or sudden old age. The Nets should hold on to what they got — Durant for another four years, or the reasonable return that’s worth Kevin Durant over those four more years.

Second, the Nets traded a bevy of young talent under Marks as they rounded up Irving, Durant and Harden, and then, yielding to Harden’s demands, Ben Simmons. This list includes: Jarrett Culver, Caris LaVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAngelo Russell and DeMarre Carroll. This young team once made the playoffs and looked interesting enough to be just one star away from real competition. They also boasted a strong culture with a blanket.

So here’s Sean Marks, who put his all on Durant and Irving and now faces his superstar – like so many do these days – demanding an exit and specific definitions.

This brings us to the third reality: GMs are expected to act in the best interest of their team, but of course they act in their own interest as well. Deep down, Marks can’t covet trades in picks and young players he may not be able to see through if he doesn’t survive the post-Kyrie and Durant rubble.

KD played hardball and didn’t care about the future of the Nets or Marks’ career. Fine. Everyone is an adult here. But why on earth would Marks do anything outside of his and his team’s interests?

For years, Marks was the steward of a team that went from severely limited opportunities to promising and young to a perceived contender to Durant’s mood swing to a potential dumpster fire.

So there’s only one word Mark has to say to this last requirement on Durant’s wish list: No.

In anticipation of Durant taking that path, I spoke to NBA sources this week about refusing to bow to a star’s demand for an exit. They encountered a range of answers. disbelief. Reminders that Stars can just turn it off, and in Simmons the Nets have a front row example. The devastating effect of a star who plays but doesn’t try.

All valid points.

But the Nets don’t care about Durant’s wishes. Hit his hard ball with her own. You want to sit out? Fine. Sit out the next four years. Want to play somewhere else? We will see. Find us a business we want, not some front runner (again) that fits your purely selfish needs. You want a ring somewhere else? Yes, we have seen this story from you before. Just understand that we are chasing our own ring and we will not move you without the necessary parts to make this possible.

Talk to the Grizzlies about parting ways with some of their young stars other than Ja Morant and a boatload of picks. For example, see if the Atlanta Hawks would trade Trae Young and a first-round pick for Durant. Call Houston for all of these tips. Point out – and, yes, sure, that might drive it – that irony aside, two of the most compelling packages might actually come from the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors. See if the Boston Celtics want to trade KD for Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown (and, in Brown’s case, then some).

Explore every crazy idea. Because trading KD for less than what the Nets need is crazier, more destructive, and more likely to end badly, just like it was when they gave in to Harden’s same wish.

Durant has already gone to the mattresses with his GM. So it’s time for Marks to remind himself that it’s not personal. It’s purely business.

And the Brooklyn Nets are in the Brooklyn Nets business, not Kevin Durant’s next team daydreams.