In his quest to bring a championship to the Nets, Kevin Durant starts the season 0-1

Kevin Durant lost.

This is apparent from Tuesday’s statement by the brooklyn nets announcing that the organization and its disgruntled superstar “have agreed to move forward with our partnership” after a meeting in Los Angeles between the two parties.

It’s the partnership that just a few weeks ago, Durant asked to disband so he could be sent to the team of his choice. It was a reunion that featured the owner, Joe Tsai, and the two men Durant had required to be fired if he should stay – head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks.

Now?

Now, the soon-to-be divorcees say they’re “focused on basketball, with one collective goal in mind: to build a lasting franchise to bring a championship to Brooklyn.”

It’s a breathtaking descent for Durant, and a seismic change from the normal course of things when NBA superstars make demands no matter how far-fetched they seem at the time.

Perhaps two of the most egregious examples of player power madness were near and dear enough to the Nets that they finally had enough – for themselves and, perhaps now, in a power shift. in the NBA as a whole. First it was James Harden wanting to leave Houston, then, ironically, leave Brooklyn, eventually landing in Philadelphia. And, secondly but related, it was Ben Simmons refusing to play for the Sixers and going to Brooklyn, where… he still hasn’t played a single minute of basketball.

Both players got what they wanted. The same goes for almost every other superstar when they’re unhappy – a list at one point or another that has included Anthony Davis, Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard and others.

There is now precedent for teams wanting to get back on top, a decision made possible in large part by KD’s clumsy way of doing things. Power is a formidable weapon when used wisely, because if you don’t know how to handle it, you can suddenly find it in someone else’s hands.

Back when this mess first unfolded in July with Durant’s first ultimatum, which has now failed, we argued that the Nets, for various reasons, should just tell him no. That’s as true now as it was then, but Durant certainly made it easier for Brooklyn.

He’s a world-class player with four years left on his contract, one who has always been far less likely than Simmons to run out of time because, as anyone in the NBA will tell you, Durant loves to play. in the hoop. It’s a passion, a laudable and key part of his all-time greatness, and he’s never been likely to miss time from the game he loves on purpose.

It was the first point in favor of the Nets. It also helped that the Kyrie Irving debacle meant the Nets would always seek to resolve Durant’s situation first and – just as importantly – demand a major comeback to dismantle a team with the high expectations that come with a Durant-Kyrie pairing. .

It wasn’t a team with a single superstar and no real championship path, like with, say, the Denver nuggets crew carmelo anthony forced its release a decade ago. The Nets were a contender, at least on paper, and that meant Marks had to get the right return to save his own job.

Sometimes when you have no choice, you have a strange kind of freedom. This is where the Nets general manager ended up.

All of that was lost on Durant when he recklessly went to London and told Tsai the owner had to choose between him and Nash and Marks. Here’s a good rule to follow: don’t try to force billionaires.

Then, still failing to read the situation accurately, Durant or those around him clearly leaked the ultimatum, trying to pressure Tsai to bend to his will. A second rule to respect, closely related to the first: do not try to put pressure on these billionaires publicly after the failure of the private tactic of arm wrestling.

Now, it’s true that both sides always get something out of this other than the farce of making it look like we’re all in the same boat that they’re trying to sell. While Durant could still be a Net this season, he’s not a lock, and either side can gain something from the other in this arrangement.

This statement is a perfect way for Brooklyn to tell the Grizzlies, Celtics, suns, Heat, and any other potential suitor who dreamed of a KD acquisition, that the price is the price. Brooklyn has leveraged these teams publicly, and heavily, with the best tool to get the deal they want for Durant — the threat he will remain.

That’s the way, Durant & Co., you do it.

And Durant also gets something. It happens to hoop. He’s gearing up for an NBA season, most likely with the Nets but still possibly elsewhere, with a (less) fun training camp and a clear focus on basketball being key to getting off to a good start. He loves the game, and he continues to play it, and that’s something.

But don’t let the news obscure the fact that Durant lost the very public fight he started in the most public way.

The coach whose dismissal he demanded will always be his coach. The general manager he demanded to be fired is still in charge. The team he has refused to be part of, for now, still retains his services. And the owner of the team he was looking to beef up showed him what relentless strength looks like.

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