The Brooklyn Nets could be set for a second franchise meltdown in the last decade in the aftermath of recent revelations.
The front office ate the forbidden fruit in an exchange that saw them sacrifice their culture, young assets and draft capital to bring sign Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency in 2019 and traded for James Harden in 2020. Come the start of the 2022/23 season, there is a distinct possibility that all three players could be suiting up for different teams.
Harden quit on the Nets just 13 months into his tenure and was exchanged for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks. Irving could be next out the door due to the Nets’ understandable reluctance to offer him a fully guaranteed max contract given his lack of availability for varying circumstances over the last three seasons.
The 30-year-old has played just 103 games since joining the Nets, missing 123 in that same timeframe. His career has been a dramatic rollercoaster ride since departing from the Cleveland Cavaliers and now both he and the Nets are jockeying for leverage in the situation.
The Nets know that none of Irving’s list of preferred sign-and-trade destinations — Lakers, Clippers, 76ers, Mavericks, Knicks and Heat — have the cap space to sign him to a max contract. However, Irving’s erratic behaviour in recent times makes it impossible to rule out the possibility of him opting out of his deal to sign a one-year contract using the MLE before then signing a max contract the following summer.
He left $17m on the table in not getting the vaccine last season and would be missing out on another $30m this time around if he was to opt out and leave as a free agent. In that instance, Brooklyn would then receive nothing in exchange for the 7x All-Star and would almost certainly lead to Durant requesting a trade. Having the opportunity to play with Irving was one of the motivating factors that led to Durant’s departure from Golden State.
Should the trade request arrive there would be no shortage of suitors that would be in for the 12x All-Star. There are NBA betting sites that have begun releasing odds on Durant’s next team, including Bovada. You can find our Bovada review here.
Despite all of the speculation, they are still set on Durant continuing with Brooklyn next season. He is priced at an overwhelming -5000 to be a Net come the start of the new season, which indicates a confidence that Irving will either opt-in to his $36.5m player option or sign a multi-year extension.
If he was to move, however, the Phoenix Suns are priced as the favourites to land Durant at +1500. They could package together an enticing collection of promising young players headlined by Deandre Ayton, who would need to agree to a sign-and-trade.
They also have Cam Johnson in a contract year and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Mikal Bridges — who would be a reluctant inclusion — in their pocket if they really need to blow other teams out of the water. Durant has publicly stated that Suns guard Devin Booker is one of his favourite players in the NBA and the pair won a Gold Medal together last summer at the Olympics.
Behind them are the Dallas Mavericks at +1600. The Mavericks made the Western Conference Finals last season and would be the favourite in the eyes of many to make the NBA Finals with a dynamic duo of Durant and Luka Doncic.
Durant went to Texas in his one college season and could be keen on a return to the state to compete for an NBA Championship. However, Dallas would almost certainly be outbid by other interested teams including Phoenix with their most valuable piece being restricted free agent Jalen Brunson. Find the full list of odds released by Bovada below.
Full Kevin Durant Next Team Odds
- Brooklyn Nets -5000
- Phoenix Suns +1500
- Dallas Mavericks +1600
- Boston Celtics +1800
- Golden State Warriors +1800
- Toronto Raptors +1800
- Memphis Grizzlies +2000