Sources: KD, Nets talking franchise’s direction

NBA

In the aftermath of the Kyrie Irving trade, Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant has been engaged in conversations with owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks on the direction of the franchise and its ability to be a championship contender, sources told ESPN on Tuesday.

So far, the Nets have insisted to Durant and inquiring teams that the organization has no intention of moving him prior to Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline, sources said.

Durant — who asked out and later rescinded a trade demand in the offseason — held a strong interest in an offseason trade to the Phoenix Suns, but that organization and numerous others have been told that the Nets aren’t interested in moving Durant, sources said. Phoenix’s new majority owner, Mat Ishbia, is fully engaged overseeing the operation and has been aggressive in pursuing ways to make a major and immediate impact.

Since acquiring Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie and three draft picks in the deal that sent Irving to the Dallas Mavericks, the Nets have been active on multiple fronts in trying to upgrade the roster around Durant, sources said. The Nets created a roster spot on Tuesday when they agreed to trade forward Kessler Edwards and cash to the Sacramento Kings, sources said. The Nets saved potentially $8 million in salary and luxury tax with the deal, according to ESPN Front Office Insider Bobby Marks.

There is optimism that Durant, who is currently out with an MCL sprain in his right knee, will be ready to return to the Nets’ lineup soon after the mid-February All-Star break, sources said.

“Really good update from the doctors,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said before Tuesday’s game against the Suns, while adding that there is no timetable for Durant’s return. “So he’ll continue to progress his on-court activities so all was good.”

Durant, 34, has three years and $153 million left on his contract after this season. Durant attended the Nets’ loss to the LA Clippers on Monday night in Brooklyn but did not answer reporters’ questions on his way out of the Barclays Center.

Information from ESPN’s Nick Friedell was used in this report.

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