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Free Agency Targets: With Matt Murray added, the Maple Leafs turn to the free-agency bargain bin to fill out their forwards – Maple Leafs Hot Stove

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Entering the 2022 offseason, the Maple Leafs’ most pressing question was unquestionably goaltending. Leafs management acted accordingly. 

They cleared out Petr Mrazek’s contract, they met with Jack Campbell but did not reach an agreement, and finally, they pushed in their chips (by chips, we really mean cap space) by acquiring Matt Murray.

On the whole, the work done so far has netted out to:

Out: Mrazek (3.8 x 2), 25th overall
In: Murray (4.7 x 2), 38th overall, 2023 third, 2024 seventh

There will be plenty of time to discuss Matt Murray the goalie and watch how it plays out. Frankly, goalies are magic beans, and you could convince me one way or the other on Murray’s prospects for rebounding in a Leafs sweater. He’s still young enough (28), has had success in the league as a starter and a playoff performer, and there’s some evidence – if you squint – that he was still capable when healthy.

On the other side of the coin, Murray has struggled to stay healthy, and it’s fair to question his ability to handle a starter’s workload. Over the past three seasons, he is tied for 56th in save percentage out of the 64 goalies that have played at least 50 games. If there’s a position where past performance isn’t always indicative of future performance, it’s goaltending. That said, Murray basically played himself out of the league at one point. 

How the gamble plays out is only going to be known in time, and for the purposes of analyzing the move today, it’s secondary. Almost every goalie possibility involved a gamble. Jack Campbell has never played a 50-game season in the NHL. Neither has Ville Husso or Alexander Georgiev. Darcy Kuemper has done it twice. John Gibson has been trending down for three seasons. Marc-Andre Fleury never made it to the open market. Netminders like Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov are mystery boxes.

Now, based on age, career track records, cap hits, and recent play, do I think there were safer bets to be made? Yes. Maybe Murray will pan out and it’s all irrelevant in a year from now. If he does, Kyle Dubas will look like one of the smartest players at the poker table. If he doesn’t, it won’t just be Murray the player that is problematic.

The value is the real problem. The Leafs gave up nothing to acquire Murray and for good reason: Essentially nobody in the league wanted him with his current contract, and the one other team that did (Buffalo) was on his no-trade list.

Ottawa is a small market team that has two goalies ahead of him on the depth chart, and Murray is slated to make $15 million in actual cash over the next two seasons. Not even a week ago, Ottawa was prepared to package him and the seventh-overall pick to drop back to pick 16. 

You could argue the Leafs were desperate for a goalie, but really, this was a game of a chicken, and the Leafs blinked first. This is not the first time this management group has managed to squander a position of leverage.

The Leafs took on this gamble for the price of a 25% salary retention, a third, and a seventh. Even if it pans out, the value gleaned here was poor. They didn’t give themselves a big enough salary-cap cushion as insurance, and they didn’t sweeten the pot with assets of significant enough value (i.e. netting a player or higher draft picks). 

In fact, I can confidently say this is the least calculated move of this regime’s tenure. Kyle Dubas hasn’t protected himself at all here. It’s a boom-or-bust swing for the fences. 

The Maple Leafs’ cap situation ahead of free agency


Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

The Leafs will now head into free agency with the following roster (and holes), which they have around $8 million in cap space to fill out:

Bunting – Matthews – Marner
Kerfoot – Tavares – Nylander
Robertson – Kampf

Rielly – Brodie
Muzzin – Holl
Giordano – Liljegren

Murray

The $8 million has to be used to:

  • Sign Pierre Engvall
  • Sign Rasmus Sandin
  • Sign at least three additional forwards (or promote from within; I did not include the Kyle Cliffords, Wayne Simmonds, Alex Steeves of the world)
  • Sign a backup goalie (or promote from within)

That’s an average of $1.3 million per player, and that’s definitely a number Engvall specifically will be exceeding. Last year, a 26-year-old Teddy Blueger – the same age Engvall is now – was coming off a seven-goal, 22-point season in just 43 games and signed for $2.2 million per year for two years. Engvall – coming off a 15-goal, 35-point season in 78 games – compares fairly closely. In his first three years in the NHL, Blueger posted a career .39 points per game while Engvall sits at .37 at the same juncture in his career. 

After signing Engvall, the Leafs could be looking at just under $6 million in cap space to fill out, at a minimum, three forward spots, a backup goalie, and bring back Sandin. 

That is just to fill out the roster. How are they going to improve the team?

The internal options and the free-agency bargain bin


Dominik Kubalik, Toronto Maple Leafs option
Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

I certainly wouldn’t pay Ilya Mikheyev the near $5 million he reportedly wants, but he was very good last season. It’s possible to bank on Nick Robertson emerging as the season goes on, but those are very different players. Mikheyev was fourth among Leafs forwards in shorthanded time-on-ice per game last season and was a key member of the team’s checking line. Robertson projects as a scoring forward. 

It would be disappointing if the offseason essentially boils down to signing a bunch of depth forwards, taking a huge gamble in net, and doing nothing of significance to demonstrably improve the roster. 

So what’s left at this point?

Elliotte Friedman just reported that the Leafs have interest in Zach Aston-Reese and/or in potentially bringing Denis Malgin back from Switzerland. That’s not going to move the needle much, but in the case of Aston-Reese – or a Tyler Motte type as well – I do think there is value in adding a legitimate, proven NHL forward to anchor their fourth line while providing some checking value and physicality. Adding a steady player makes it much more palatable for the Leafs to pair up a Marlie – such as an Alex Steeves – to protect him and provide some veteran insurance.

The question for the fourth line – presuming they do sign an Aston-Reese type (which I am guessing is likely and is something I would endorse) – is whether Wayne Simmonds and/or Kyle Clifford are also in the mix. My guess is that they don’t have the nerve to send Simmonds down. I assume he’ll be in the lineup to start the season, even though he played his way out of the playoff lineup and is only getting worse at this point in time. 

Short of clearing cap space to change the roster around (I’ll reiterate that Alex Kerfoot – coming off a career-high season, not a play driver, a year away from UFA – is an easy player to sell high on right now), the main thing the Leafs can really do in search of upside is to explore the unqualified market. That is where the team added David Kampf last summer with good results.

There are a few candidates of interest. Kampf’s former teammate, Dylan Strome, is receiving a bunch of attention on the free-agent market, but it’s another of his former teammates, Dominik Kubalik, that is of particular interest to me. He has 116 points in 202 NHL games, including a 30-goal season in his rookie year. He’s 6’2, has a great shot, and can play with skilled players.

Over three seasons in Chicago, Kampf and Kubalik actually played over 430 minutes together at 5v5. They were essentially even in corsi, slightly above water at fenwick, outscored opponents by three, and controlled a near 55% expected goals despite a 32% offensive-zone faceoff percentage. And that’s on a horrible Chicago team. 

Kubalik is a much different player than Mikheyev, but he’s arguably a better goal scorer and he’s the same size. Kubalik is essentially a good finisher but doesn’t drive play much. I can picture a seamless fit alongside Kampf and Engvall on a cheap contract. He is also a credible second power-play unit half-wall option to replace Jason Spezza with his bomb of a shot.

That type of addition – to go along with an Aston-Reese type (a physical grinder and penalty killer) and bringing back Engvall – gives them four credible NHLers (including Kampf, of course) in the bottom six and two spots for Marlies/Wayne Simmonds/Kyle Clifford to compete for. Is it sexy? No, but there is potential for upside with a good floor to protect the outlook of the team.

There are other unqualified players worthy of consideration. 

The Leafs could contemplate returning Ondrej Kase at a reduced rate, although I’d personally rather see them acquire players they can trust to stay healthy. 

Jonathan Dahlen flashed promise on a really bad San Jose team last season in his rookie year and went unqualified by a brand-new GM. There is potential here.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel was a regular on the Stanley Cup champions during the regular season and appeared in 14 playoff games. He fits the Aston-Reese/Motte ilk.

Brett Howden is just 24 years old, can play center, and tallied 20 points in 47 games (he is also 6’2). He could be an inexpensive 4C with some reasonable upside to help anchor the Leafs’ fourth line.

And then there is the question of a second goaltender. Ideally, Erik Kallgren is the team’s third goalie (if the past few seasons have taught us anything, it’s that the Leafs’ third-stringer is going to play some games).

Ilya Samsonov was not qualified by Washington, and while he has struggled recently, he’s just 25 with nearly 100 games to his name. Eric Comrie doesn’t have the experience of Samsonov, but he just turned 27 and was good last season with a .920 save percentage in 19 games on a fairly-mediocre Winnipeg team. That type of younger gamble with some upside is the type of hedge that is affordable, intriguing, and raises the floor for the goaltending department. 

On defense, the goal should be to retain Sandin and let the roster battle play out from there. The Leafs already have seven NHL defensemen. We floated the idea of moving out money on the defense in a previous offseason writeup; while that remains viable, with the draft over with and many trade candidates already moved, what would be the play?

Sell off the cap space now and become worse on defense? Perform some gymnastics where the team trades away a Jake Muzzin, clears cap, then prays to land a UFA of note? At this point, it seems wiser to simply run back the defense group. It’s a really good overall unit.

If you’re asking me, I still think there’s value in signing a UFA forward of note — an Andrew Copp or Nino Niederreiter, who I think better fit alongside John Tavares and William Nylander. But they would have to clear cap space to make that kind of move, and time is running out on free agency.

Goaltending needed to be the priority, and the Leafs have made their move there. Unless they follow it up by clearing cap space, the remainder of the offseason will mainly be focused on filling out the roster and bargain-bin hunting.

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What you need to know ahead of the restaged 2022 World Junior Championships – ESPN

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The World Junior Championship is a holiday hockey tradition like no other.

This year is an exception.

The tournament is still coming your way during peak vacation time, only now it’s happening mid-summer, rather than post-Christmas. Confused? Let’s recap.

The 2022 WJC was set to be played as usual last December. Due to COVID-19 concerns, the location was moved to Edmonton, Alberta, under restrictive “bubble” conditions. The International Ice Hockey Federation hoped strict protocols would allow the event to go off as scheduled. Spoiler: It did not.

Four days in, the IIHF was forced to call things off after the United States, Czechia and Russia each forfeited preliminary round games because of mounting COVID cases through their ranks. The IIHF didn’t know at the time whether the tournament could be rescheduled.

In April, a new plan was announced. The IIHF said it would restage the 2022 iteration of its event from Aug. 9-20 in Edmonton. The results from games that were played last December would be thrown out. Players born in 2002 or later would retain their eligibility to participate. And so, here we are.

When preliminary action begins (again), all eyes will of course be on the tournament’s perennial favorites from the U.S. and Canada. Those countries highlight two groups of participating nations: Group A has the U.S., Austria, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland, while Group B is Canada, Czechia, Finland, Latvia and Slovakia.

Austria retained its place in a top division despite finishing in 10th place last year. Normally, it would have faced relegation, but the cancellation of various U20 tournaments altered regulations and they remain in the mix.

The top four teams from each group will play in the quarterfinals, starting on Aug. 17. That will be followed by the semifinals on Aug. 19, and the gold and bronze medal games on Aug. 20.

Before things get rolling, we’re checking in on some of the major storylines and more intriguing players populating this year’s tournament. As hockey fans know, there is no comparison for the drama the World Juniors can bring. (Editor’s note: A version of this story was posted in December ahead of the initial start of the tournament. This has been updated to account for what has changed between then and now)

Can Team USA go back-to-back?

Spencer Knight made 34 saves and Trevor Zegras recorded two points when Team USA shut out Team Canada 2-0 to win gold at the 2021 World Juniors tournament.

That marked the fifth WJC title for Team USA, along with victories in 2004, 2010, 2013 and 2017. What the U.S. has never accomplished is winning gold in consecutive years. And there’s no time like the present to give it another shot.

Head coach Neal Leaman will be behind the bench again this year, after guiding Team USA to gold in 2021. Leaman has been the men’s coach at Providence College for 11 seasons and won an NCAA title in 2015.

Team USA has four skaters returning from that championship-winning roster in 2021 in Brock Faber, Landon Slaggert, Brett Berard and Tyler Kleven, and retained 17 of the 25 players who were originally slated to be in the December tournament.

Standing prominently in the U.S.’s way of a repeat will be Team Canada, although they’ve suffered significant losses to their numbers from before. Nine players from Canada’s December roster aren’t returning this time around, including Owen Power and Kaiden Guhle. However, Canada does boast impressive goaltending depth highlighted by the Canadian Hockey League’s goalie of the year, Dylan Garand.

Canada was also the last team to win consecutive WJC titles, earning five straight gold medals from 2005 to 2009. Will the U.S. be next to go back-to-back?

Can Connor Bedard dominate — again?

Technically, the last 16-year-old to play for Canada in the World Juniors was some guy named Connor McDavid.

In December, another Connor followed in McDavid’s footsteps — and the (then) 16-year-old Connor Bedard was off to a great start. Bedard entered Canada’s winter selection camp with an outside shot at being the team’s 13th forward. He made the final roster and proceeded to become the youngest player in tournament history to score four goals in a game during Canada’s preliminary round rout of Austria. One day later, the IIHF shut the championship down.

Bedard returned then to the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats and produced an electrifying 76 points in 38 games.

It’s no wonder then that Bedard enters this tournament re-do not only on Canada’s top line with Mason McTavish, but as the favorite to go No. 1 overall in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.

Canada’s head coach Dave Cameron said the three months of playing time that elapsed for Bedard between one championship and the next made a “huge” impact on his overall game. The center agrees, telling reporters this week he felt improved from the second half of last season, particularly when it comes to his face-off percentage. Bedard will be angling to show off those advancements on an international stage.

There’s no reason to doubt he can. Bedard has long been an overachiever, like when he became the first player in WHL history to be granted exceptional status to join the Pats as a 15-year-old. So maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise when Bedard came to last winter’s camp and was Canada’s leading scorer through exhibition play with two goals and four assists.

Even still, Bedard wasn’t projected to play a huge role for Canada. That’s changed quickly. Expectations are now sky-high for what Bedard can produce on a squad hungry to get back on top.

Same goes for the USA’s Logan Cooley. He was part of the team’s original WJC roster, tallying an assist in one preliminary round game before the COVID shutdown. Leman thought Cooley made great plays in that match against Slovakia and expected he’d rely on Cooley more from there.

That should be especially true now, given all that’s happened for Cooley since. He returned to the US National Team Development Program and had a terrific year with the U-18 squad, collecting 75 points in 51 games. That translated to Cooley being drafted third overall by Arizona in last month’s NHL Entry Draft. Confidence boost? You bet.

Cooley wants to go pro quickly but is committed to play at Minnesota next season. The World Juniors should be an ideal segue into his freshman year. The Pittsburgh native is a highly skilled center who can take on a top-six role for the USA and be toe-to-toe with Bedard and other elite skaters in this tournament.

Where’s Russia?

This is the first time ever that a World Junior championship won’t include Team Russia.

They’ve been involved since the tournament’s outset in 1974 and claim the most medals (37) of any participating nation. Russia was also part of the championship taking place in December. But in February, the IIHF ruled all teams from Russia and Belarus were suspended from competing in any IIHF-sanctioned events. The verdict was made amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of the Ukraine.

“The IIHF is not a political entity and cannot influence the decisions being taken over the war in Ukraine,” IIHF President Luc Tardif said in a statement at the time. “We nevertheless have a duty of care to all of our members and participants and must therefore do all we can to ensure that we are able to operate our events in a safe environment for all teams taking part in the IIHF World Championship program.”

So, with Russia out, Latvia is now in. This will be Latvia’s first appearance in the tournament since 2017, and its seventh trip overall. Latvia earned its spot by placing second in the tournament’s Division 1A competition in December. Belarus finished first and would normally take Russia’s spot in this instance, but Belarus is also banned.

Will new faces emerge?

All players from the tournament in December could have returned for this summer showcase. Naturally not all of them will be, requiring some reinforcements on just about every roster.

Say hello to (a few of) the new guys.

William Dufour, F (Canada)

Dufour didn’t made Team Canada the first time he tried out. But that was then. The New York Islanders’ prospect put together a tremendous 2022 season with the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs, leading the league in goals (56) and finishing second in points (116). It was good enough to earn Dufour the QMJHL’s Michel-Briere trophy as league MVP — and he didn’t stop there. Dufour earned another MVP title when he led the Sea Dogs to a Memorial Cup championship this spring, tallying the most goals (7) and points (8) in the tournament. Dufour has the goal-scoring prowess that Canada needs and should be a lock for big minutes at even-strength and on the power play.

Sean Behrens, D (USA)

Technically, Behrens isn’t totally new here. He did make Team USA’s roster in December but couldn’t travel to the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19. The defenseman has another crack at playing now and will be coming into this championship on a high. The Colorado prospect just wrapped up a sensational freshman season at the University of Denver, producing 29 points in 37 games and helping guide the Pioneers to a national title. Behrens is a talented overall skater with great puck-moving ability that will make him especially fun to watch in Edmonton.

Thomas Bordeleau, C (USA)

This opportunity has been a long time coming for Bordeleau. He was supposed to play for Team USA in both 2021 and last winter but was thwarted by COVID-19 protocols on both occasions. The 20-year-old did get to play a small role for the U.S. during the men’s World Championship this year. He should have a bigger role at the Juniors. Bordeleau projects to be a top-six center, using his creativity and high-end skill set to generate plenty of offense for the U.S. A San Jose Sharks draft pick, Bordeleau signed his entry-level contract with the team at the end of last season.

Jonathan Lekkerimaki, F (Sweden)

Keep an eye out for this Vancouver Canucks draftee. Lekkerimaki has had a great international season for Sweden already, notching a tournament-high 15 points in the U18 World Championship (where he won gold) and five goals at the Hlinka tournament. Add to that a seven-goal performance back in the Swedish Hockey League and there is little surprise the 18-year-old is generating some big buzz — and expectations — about how he’ll help lead Sweden’s offense in this championship.

Aatu Raty, F (Finland)

This season was a real turning point for Raty. The Islanders’ prospect got off to a poor start with the Finnish League’s Karpat, registering little ice time through the team’s first six games. Raty was then traded in October from Karpat to Jukurit, where he played under head coach (and former NHLer) Olli Jokinen. It was a perfect match, and Raty excelled in his new quarters putting up 13 goals and 40 points in 41 games. After being left off Finland’s roster entirely last year, he’s now centering their top line with Roni Hirvonen and Joakim Kemell and could end up being the tournament’s top scorer. Talk about a glow up.

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Tennis legend Serena Williams to retire after U.S. Open in September – CBC Sports

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Serena Williams’ appearance at the National Bank Open in Toronto will be the final one of her career.

The tennis legend said earlier Tuesday she is planning to retire from tennis sometime following the U.S. Open, which begins later this month.

Williams, who won her opening match at the National Bank Open on Monday, made the announcement in an essay released by Vogue magazine.

“I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give,” Williams wrote in an essay released Tuesday by Vogue magazine.

She said she wasn’t sure she’d be able to look at the magazine when the issue hit newstands, “knowing that this is it, the end of a story that started in Compton, California, with a little Black girl who just wanted to play tennis.”

Williams, one of the greatest and most accomplished athletes in the history of her — or any other — sport, said she does not like the word retirement and prefers to think of this stage of her life as “evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.”

Williams is playing this week in Toronto, at a hard-court tournament that leads into the U.S. Open, the year’s last Grand Slam event, which begins in New York on Aug. 29.

WATCH | Williams advances to 2nd round:

Serena Williams advances to the 2nd round of the National Bank Open

1 day ago

Duration 0:33

Serena Williams defeated Nuria Parrizas-Diaz in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, her first singles win since the 2021 French Open.

The American has won more Grand Slam singles titles in the professional era than any other woman or man. Only one player, Margaret Court, collected more, 24, although she won a portion of hers in the amateur era.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously I do. But day to day, I’m really not thinking about her. If I’m in a Grand Slam final, then yes, I am thinking about that record,” Williams said. “Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn’t help. The way I see it, I should have had 30-plus Grand Slams.”

I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair.— American tennis player Serena Williams

But, Williams went on to write, “These days, if I have to choose between building my tennis resume and building my family, I choose the latter.”

Off tour for a year

She and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, have a daughter, Olympia, who turns 5 on Sept. 1.

“Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair,” said Williams, who was pregnant when she won the 2017 Australian Open for her last Grand Slam trophy. “If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labour of expanding our family.”

Williams was off the tour for about a year after getting injured during her first-round match at Wimbledon in 2021. She returned to singles competition at the All England Club this June and lost in the first round.

After that defeat, Williams was asked whether she would compete again.

“That’s a question I can’t answer,” she said at the time. “I don’t know. … Who knows? Who knows where I’ll pop up?”

Williams hints in the essay that the U.S. Open will be her last tournament but does not say so explicitly.

“I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment,” Williams wrote. “I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst.”

Plans to celebrate in Toronto

The announcement has already set off plans to celebrate Williams, along with ticket sales having skyrocketed according to tournament director Karl Hale.

“Tremendously (impacts everything with the tournament). Ticket sales have gone through the roof, we’ll be sold out by (6 p.m.) today, which doesn’t happen on a Wednesday, typically,” he said. “The media requests have been significant to say the least, everybody wants to see Serena and talk to her. Even the players in the players lounge, everybody’s talking about Serena.”

“Tomorrow night, we’ll celebrate her for sure.”

The American has won more Grand Slam singles titles in the professional era than any other woman or man. Only one player, Margaret Court, collected more, 24, although she won a portion of hers in the amateur era.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously I do. But day to day, I’m really not thinking about her. If I’m in a Grand Slam final, then yes, I am thinking about that record,” Williams said. “Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn’t help. The way I see it, I should have had 30-plus Grand Slams.”

But, Williams went on to write, “These days, if I have to choose between building my tennis resume and building my family, I choose the latter.”

She and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, have a daughter, Olympia, who turns 5 on Sept. 1.

News saddening to younger players

Despite Williams’ announcement being considered imminent, for younger players like American Coco Gauff, the news is still saddening.

“A little bit sad because I’ve always wanted to play her so I’m hoping my draw in Cincinnati or the U.S. Open or even here, can work out so we could play each other because that’s one of my goals,” the 18-year-old said.

Her legacy has been one to behold and one that Gauff believes may be untouchable.

“I think the legacy she’s left on the world just through her tennis career is something that I don’t think any other player could touch. I think the legacy she’ll continue to leave throughout her life is something that can inspire many more generations,” she said.

When asked about her impact on her being young Black tennis player, Gauff made sure to point out it wasn’t just Williams who made an impact, it was also her dad Richard Williams.

“I grew up watching her. That’s the reason why I played tennis. Tennis being a predominantly white sport, it definitely helped a lot because I saw somebody look like me dominating the game and it made me believe that I could dominate too.

“Mr. Williams and all that he’s done for both (Venus and Serena) of them, inspired my dad to continue to coach me and help me even though he didn’t (have much) tennis experience. He was like, ‘if Mr. Williams could do it, then I can.’ It’s not so much just what Serena and Venus have left, it’s also the whole Williams family in general.”

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Kevin Durant Didn't Previously Express Wish For Nets To Fire Steve Nash, Sean Marks – RealGM.com

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Kevin Durant met with Joe Tsai recently in London and it was revealed he expressed a lack of faith in the direction of the Brooklyn Nets. Durant reportedly issued an ultimatum that he is not interested in continuing with the Nets if Steve Nash remains as head coach and Sean Marks continues running the front office.

“The timing of it is also unusual,” said Brian Windhorst on Tuesday. “While star players have gotten coaches fired for decades and will get them fired for decades, he didn’t express this, as far as I’m aware to the Nets at the end of the season. And he didn’t express this to the Nets when he made his trade demand. So doing it now is a maneuver. A maneuver that I don’t think worked. 

“Because as I talk to teams out there, they don’t think his increased his trade value, they think this hurt his trade value.”

Windhorst also noted that Tsai statement of support for Nash and Marks also includes a sentence the league paid strong attention to stating “We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”

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