Author: Dean Carr
Last Updated: July 6, 2022
The NBA offseason is set to be dominated by the future of All-Star forward Kevin Durant after he requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets.
The 33-year-old stunned the NBA world just hours before the start of free agency with the announcement that will drastically change the landscape of the league moving forward. It has been a tumultuous few seasons for Durant and the Nets since he signed in Brooklyn alongside Kyrie Irving in the summer of 2019.
Injuries and Covid vaccine mandates led to the pair winning just one Playoff series and playing 44 games together across three seasons with the franchise — a hugely underwhelming return on Brooklyn’s heavy investment. The Nets’ pain is only exaggerated when you consider the draft capital they also gave up to acquire what turned out to be just over one year of James Harden.
It leaves the Nets with very little future assets and without an immediate window to compete for a Championship any time soon. Irving is also expected to depart despite opting in to his $36.5m player option for this upcoming season. That was a decision that was motivated by a lack of interest in him, with the Los Angeles Lakers being the only team that seriously enquired about the point guard.
Irving could still well become a Laker this summer if a deal can be struck around Durant’s former teammate Russell Westbrook. Any deal that sends Irving away from Brooklyn will almost certainly mean a Durant trade is imminent and there is certainly no shortage of suitors that would wish to prize him away.
The most likely candidate at this moment in time is the Phoenix Suns, according to the majority of NBA betting sites out there. They were one of two teams that Durant listed on his preferred destinations if he were to be moved during the offseason and they likely have the best package of players and draft compensation to offer a Nets team who have no motivation to be uncompetitive given their own lack of draft picks.
Phoenix can offer a package based around restricted free agent DeAndre Ayton, who they were unwilling to offer a max contract to at the start of last season. Ayton, who was the no.1 overall draft pick in 2018, is unlikely to return to Phoenix next season and has performed well in the Playoffs during his career.
In addition to Ayton, the Suns also have 3-and-D wings Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson to offer. Bridges, 25, was a Defensive Player of the Year candidate last year, while Johnson 26, is one of the elite three-point shooters in the NBA and shot 43% from outside the arc last season. All three players would almost certainly have to be included in the haul to secure Durant, as well as significant draft compensation, with Devin Booker being a non-starter in any conversations surrounding KD.
One of Durant’s greatest motivations for wanting to join Phoenix would be to play alongside Booker, who he has repeatedly stated is one of his favourite players in the NBA. Whether or not they will be able to get a deal done without including Booker remains to be seen. Durant is still under contract for the next four seasons in Brooklyn, who have stated they want two All-Star calibre players in return for his services.
Ayton has that potential, but it’s unlikely that Bridges or Johnson will ever quite reach that level. That said, a core of Ayton, Bridges, Johnson and Ben Simmons is still something that the Nets can build on. It could be one of the more versatile starting lineups in the league alongside whatever they are able to get back for Irving via trade too.
It would leave the Nets as a fairly competitive team in the Eastern Conference that would likely be competing around the 7-10 seed for a place in the play-in tournament. That would be in the best interests of the franchise too, considering their lack of upcoming draft capital, thus giving them no incentive to bottom out as a lottery team.
However, this is a saga that will likely continue throughout the offseason. It is rare for NBA superstars of Durant’s calibre to request a trade with so many years left on their contract and the Nets could hold out for potentially the biggest haul of assets that we have ever seen.
You must also then factor in the return that the Utah Jazz received for Rudy Gobert. The Minnesota Timberwolves sent four first round picks between 2023 and 2029 to Utah, along with Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Walker Kessler and Leandro Balmaro.
Still, the fact remains the Suns have, on paper, the most appealing offer available, it’s just about how many chips they are willing to push to the middle of the table to get Durant. Find below the full updated odds of Durant’s next team from BUSR. You can also read our BUSR review here.
Full Kevin Durant Next Team Odds (If Traded From The Nets)
- Phoenix Suns -130
- Miami Heat +300
- Toronto Raptors +550
- Memphis Grizzlies +600
- New Orleans Pelicans +900
- Philadelphia 76ers +1100
- Golden State Warriors +1200
- Los Angeles Clippers +1600
- Los Angeles Lakers +1800
- New York Knicks +2000