ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who has been on top of the Kevin Durant sign-and-trade from the jump, continues to offer all the behind-the-scenes details on how the swap went down.
As Windhorst put it, Durant, who had no reason to be involved in the sign-and-trade used his negotiating power:
“As a result, there were a series of squeezes put on the Warriors, a position with which they are not at all familiar. First, Durant initially balked at being traded for Russell straight up, multiple sources said. He didn't think it was a fair deal, and in this case, the Warriors had to not just satisfy the Nets, but also Durant.”
And so the unusual deal came to be:
“Leverage was applied by the player, and Golden State had to include a first-round pick before Durant would agree to sign off. The Warriors begrudgingly gave it up and did so with a heavy condition: If the pick falls within the top 20 next year, they don't have to send it, and instead will only give Brooklyn a second-round pick ... in six years. It's one of the most unusual pick protections the NBA has seen recently.”
Per Windhorst, the Warriors also had to take Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham of the Nets’ hands in order to help clear space for the signing of DeAndre Jordan, Durant’s good friend. The Warriors turned around and paid Minnesotat $3.6 million for Napier and Graham.