Kevin Durant’s trade request from the Brooklyn Nets apparently came with quite a robust payday from the team.
According to Marc Stein, on July 1 — the day after Durant formally asked to be traded — the Nets had to pay the 12-time All-Star an eight-figure check as part of the first installation of two advance payments in his first year of his new contract extension.
In fact, per Stein, Durant’s early payment structure in his current deal is the most aggressive allowed by league rules, in which he will receive half of his $42,969,845 salary for the 2022-23 season before the first week of training camp is complete. The next scheduled payment would come Oct. 1.
So, why exactly is this a big deal?
Well, not only could Durant potentially not play a game for the Nets under the four-year, $194 million extension he signed last year, but he could potentially collect half of his first year’s salary from the Nets without playing a game for them.
However, Durant could potentially find himself in a similar situation as his teammate, Ben Simmons, who has a similarly structured contract in which the Philadelphia 76ers withheld nearly $20 million of his $33 million after refusing to play unless he was traded.
It is still unclear if Durant is willing to hold out of training camp — which is scheduled to begin Sept. 27 — to force a deal or if the Nets would go the same route as the Sixers and withhold payments if he is indeed a no-show.
Durant recently issued an ultimatum to Nets owner Joseph Tsai to trade him or get rid of head coach Steve Nash and GM Sean Marks.
Per Stein, there is a belief among rival teams that Durant knew Tsai would not honor his request and the speculation is that Durant’s meeting with Tsai was an attempt to manufacture more discord behind the scenes that could force the Nets to lower their asking price.
Currently, the Nets have fielded offers from teams but no one has yet to meet their high asking price. The Celtics reportedly presented a package around Jaylen Brown and a handful of first-round picks, but the Nets countered asking for Jayson Tatum as well.
The Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors have all been linked as potential suitors with the addition of the 76ers reportedly emerging as a preference for Durant.