Kevin Durant trade rumors
Following the news of Kyrie Irving re-signing with the Brooklyn Nets, it appeared they would keep the band together in Brooklyn. However, that has since been proven wrong with the bomb dropping today that Kevin Durant requested a trade. I will break down potential Durant trade ideas and the teams he’s rumored to go to.
Kevin Durant has four years remaining on his contract. So despite KD turning 34 before the start of the 2022-23 season, he might be the most valuable trade piece ever to hit the market. Durant has shown no sign of falling off, and the four remaining years mean the team that trades for him retains some control.
Durant trade to Suns for Ayton & picks
A Durant trade to the Phoenix Suns leads the clubhouse as the most likely scenario. Not only are the Phoenix Suns on Durant’s reported list, but they also have the most valuable trade piece. Deandre Ayton has fallen out with the Suns organization, and they’ve made ‘no traction’ in contract talks.
The Suns and Ayton could work out a deal to sign him for the maximum of just over $30 million, then package Deandre Ayton with Jae Crowder, Dario Saric, Cameron Payne, or Cameron Johnson to match salaries. A combination of Ayton plus any two of those players works as well salary-wise. This deal is further complicated, however, by the hard cap which would be triggered by including Ayton.
It is important to note that the Suns also hold all their future draft picks. Yes, Ayton is younger, but make no mistake, KD’s value can’t be overstated. Especially for a team like the Phoenix Suns, who are ready to win a title right now. This will most likely be the largest trade package of all time.
Heat swing deal for Durant
The Miami Heat are always front runners in situations like this. Pat Riley and the Miami Mafia always have a few tricks up their sleeves, but I don’t see them being able to top the Phoenix Suns or other teams in a bidding war. Unless they were willing to include Bam Adebayo.
A trade featuring Bam and Tyler Herro would work salary-wise. The issue is Miami can’t move any of their picks until 2025 and league rules also prevent the Nets from having Adebayo and Ben Simmons on the roster.
Maybe the Nets would be okay with that cause the draft picks aren’t likely to be good until Jimmy Butler and Kevin Durant get old anyway, but often teams want value now. It gets messy quickly.
Speaking of Butler, I don’t think the Miami Heat would trade him. You trade for Durant to pair him with a player like Jimmy. I don’t think the Nets would want Lowry at this point in his career, considering his disappointing season, high contract, and remaining years.
Raptors go all-in again
Scottie Barnes is neck and neck with Ayton for the most valuable trade piece available. Zach Lowe mentioned if the Nets were going to move on from Durant, the Toronto Raptors would be the first call for the 2021-22 Rookie of the Year. Toronto could match salaries by trading Pascal Siakam straight across or throwing in OG Anunoby instead if they were mix-matching salaries with bench guys.
I’m not sure the Raptors would want to give up OG and Scottie or Siakam and Scottie, though. The reason Pascal and OG keep getting floated in trade rumors is cause the Raptors have Scottie, so all three players become redundant. They could also use Fred VanVleet‘s salary but that would leave them without a point guard, assuming they would still have to throw in Scottie Barnes.
Toronto controls all their future draft picks as well.
Grizzlies pair Durant with Morant
The Memphis Grizzlies are one piece away from a championship like the Suns. Memphis would be able to build a package centered around Jaren Jackson Jr. and someone like Dillon Brooks to match salaries. This would be a risk for Memphis to move on from young talent like JJJ, especially considering his relationship with Ja Morant. But, these are the types of sacrifices championship teams often make.
Of all the Kevin Durant trade ideas, this one is my favorite. It would add more heat to the red-hot rivalry between the Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors. The Grizzlies hold all their future draft picks plus Golden States’ first-round pick in 2024.
Other potential Durant trade ideas
I’m sure there will be more Kevin Durant trade rumors shortly. For example, would the Los Angeles Lakers be willing to move on from Anthony Davis for Kevin Durant? Another KD trade idea would be sending him to the Utah Jazz for Donovan Mitchell (although I’d bet KD veto’s living in Utah). Damian Lillard has also hinted he’d like to play with Kevin Durant, but I don’t see how the Portland Trail Blazers make up the salary with pieces Brooklyn would actually want.
Kyrie Irving trade rumors will also start to pop up as I’d imagine the Nets will clear the table for a complete rebuild, and the relationship with Kyrie is already on rocky ground. There’s been no word on Ben Simmons up to this point either. I’m not sure Irving or Simmons even have that many suitors.
However, the Nets will be able to charge such a hefty price for KD that moving on from the other two for cents on the dollar wouldn’t be so hard to stomach.