[Amick] A Boston deal with Jaylen Brown as the centerpiece appears to be the unofficial front-runner here. Sources say the Nets are using the fact that the Celtics, and perhaps other teams have made their 2nd best player available as a baseline of sorts in negotiations.

>Translation: If you’re still trying to discuss a Durant deal without putting your second-best talent on the table, then just stop wasting everyone’s time and bow out of this race.

Other notes:

>If a trade doesn’t materialize before Nets camp begins in late September, is Durant willing to go full Jimmy Butler if he doesn’t get what he wants? Or, perhaps, will he go the route of his Nets teammate Simmons and not report to camp (as Simmons did in Philadelphia last season)?

>Most folks around the league with whom I spoke seem to believe the answer is no, but we shall see. As for the notion that the Marks-Nash ultimatum might speed up the process by forcing the Nets to lower their lofty demands in a deal, I didn’t find much support for that idea either.

>“Marks is still asking for the world; that won’t change,” one front office executive texted late last week. “They could call his bluff and make him come to camp. I can’t see him sitting out.”

>And who can blame the Nets for taking this stance? As our Seth Partnow reminded us in his NBA Player Tiers recently, Durant is as elite as they come: a “Tier 1A” player in the project in which Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James are the only other players to be given that distinction.


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