The Suns are 54 years old. They have the longest NBA championship drought among teams that have never won a title. They could acquire another piece of infamy in the coming weeks:
They could become the NBA‘s last superteam.
Good riddance. Unless you are the recipient.
Superteams are usually described as three elite players coming together in a city of their choice in pursuit of a championship. They are despised for choosing the path of least resistance, for doing everything for them. Whether it’s karma or bad culture, these teams have often had spectacular failures.
One of them was the 2021-22 Brooklyn Nets, the team Kevin Durant built and the one he is currently trying to escape from. The difference is that Durant is not a free agent. He has four years and nearly $200 million on his contract. If he forces the Nets to trade him for lesser value (a certainty), he will have done incredible damage to one of the league’s franchises.
That’s why Commissioner Adam Silver stepped down on Tuesday. At his post-season press conference, he made it clear he was unhappy with Durant, stressing that NBA players need to honor their contracts. Unlike its predecessor, Silver is a player-friendly Commissar. But his tone begins to change, as it should. Ahead of Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals, Silver used his press briefing to denounce load management, pointing out that rest was up 100% even though there’s no evidence that the strategy even works. A year later, he’s taken a stand on Durant, and it looks like he’s had enough of player empowerment in the NBA.
At the very least, Silver understands there’s a growing perception problem with many of his high-profile performers. It’s now a league full of perceived prima donnas, players who have to be asked to play basketball games, despite their first-class lives and huge guaranteed contracts, which they might not honor if things get more difficult.
“I don’t know if (Durant) asked for a trade or demanded one, frankly,” Silver said. “It must be a two-way street. Teams offer huge security and guarantees to players, and in return they are expected to fulfill their end of the bargain.
“I’m realistic that there will always be conversations behind closed doors between players and their representatives and teams. But we don’t like to see players asking for trades, and we don’t like to see things go the way they do. they are.
Durant is a tough case, fiercely and unabashedly true to himself. Silver doesn’t have the power to guilt him into bringing him back to Brooklyn. But he can make one-way starts nearly impossible in years to come, especially if he can prove that the constant chaos and instability is a financial drain on everyone involved.
Silver has made it clear that unreasonable trade demands will be on the NBA’s agenda in upcoming labor negotiations with the NBAPA. Which means the Suns could be the NBA superteam’s last gasp.
First they have to get Durant. For better and for worse. Despite the incoming and imminent hatred. Before it is too late.
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