There have been some extremely talented scorers in NBA history, but perhaps the greatest scorer in the league since entering the league in 2007 has been Kevin Durant.
While he is 33-years-old now and recently tore his Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals, Durant finds himself as the key talking point across the league after requesting a trade from the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday afternoon ahead of the start of free agency.
As first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Kevin Durant requested a trade from the Nets and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski backed up this report by stating Durant made his trade request directly to Nets owner Joe Tsai today.
Teams around the league are now scrambling to get a deal done for one of the greatest talents in NBA history, but the Brooklyn Nets hold all the cards here.
Where will Durant, one of the greatest players in NBA history, end up when all is said and done? Here are some trade proposals that could very well be discussed over the next several hours.
A Historic All-Star Trio In Phoenix?
Phoenix Suns Receive: F Kevin Durant
Brooklyn Nets Receive: C Deandre Ayton (Sign-and-Trade), F Mikal Bridges, PHX 2023 1st Round Pick (Unprotected), PHX 2025 1st Round Pick (Unprotected), PHX 2027 1st Round Pick (Unprotected), PHX 2029 1st Round Pick (Unprotected)
The Phoenix Suns have been mentioned as one of the team’s on Kevin Durant’s list of preferred destinations and after the way their season ended, it would not be shocking to see a deal like this get done on either Thursday or Friday.
Deandre Ayton’s future in Phoenix is very unclear right now due to the fact that they do not want to pay him a max contract and the best case scenario for the Suns is to move Ayton in a sign-and-trade deal that gets them the best possible return.
Kevin Durant is a pretty good consolation prize in a sign-and-trade deal for Ayton and GM James Jones should be willing to give up any future assets possible to pair Durant with Chris Paul and Devin Booker.
Not only would the Suns have two of the best pure scorers in the league with Durant and Booker, but they would still have arguably the best point guard in the league in Paul.
Losing Mikal Bridges hurts, however, Kevin Durant is a massive upgrade for the Phoenix Suns and gives them everything they need to remain as the best team not just in the Western Conference, but the NBA as a whole.
For the Brooklyn Nets, this would be a trade that helps them both now and for the foreseeable future, as they would be getting all the draft compensation they lost in the trade for James Harden in 2021.
Deandre Ayton can be a focal point of the Nets franchise and Mikal Bridges is turning into one of the better wing defenders in the league at just 25-years-old. Phoenix’s interest in Kevin Durant is very real and they should be considered the top team to land him in a trade.
Toronto Goes All-In On Another Championship
Toronto Raptors Receive: F Kevin Durant
Brooklyn Nets Receive: F Scottie Barnes, F OG Anunoby, F/C Precious Achiuwa, G Malachi Flynn, C Khem Birch, TOR 2023 1st Round Pick (Unprotected), TOR 2025 1st Round Pick (Unprotected), TOR 2027 1st Round Pick (Unprotected)
Before you jump the handle and go off the rails here, let’s understand some key details in this trade proposal.
First off, this would undoubtedly be a multi-team deal, as it is hard to believe Brooklyn would bring in all five players the Toronto Raptors would need to trade in order to get Durant.
Second, these draft picks involved are just placeholders. I truly believe any deal involving Durant will entail at least three first-round picks and Brooklyn is going to want all of these draft picks to be unprotected.
Should Toronto actually have interest in trading for Durant, they will not only need to include versatile swingman OG Anunoby, but they will very likely have to offer up the 2021-22 Rookie of the Year, Scottie Barnes.
Anunoby and Barnes together give the Nets two younger assets to begin their rebuild with and coming off an amazing rookie season, Scottie Barnes could be utilized as the new face of the Brooklyn Nets.
As for Malachi Flynn and Precious Achiuwa, they are also two younger, former first-round picks that Brooklyn could be interested in due to their smaller rookie contracts and the depth they can provide in both the backcourt and frontcourt, respectively.
Khem Birch’s salary in this deal is nothing more than a placeholder, as the Raptors would likely need to send out roughly $37 million in total salaries to bring in Kevin Durant’s $44.1 million salary for the 2022-23 season.
You never know what to expect with Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors, as they surprised everyone when they traded DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard, which led to a championship. A similar, surprising move could be on the horizon for Toronto once again.
Ja Morant Gets His Superstar Teammate
Memphis Grizzlies Receive: F Kevin Durant
Brooklyn Nets Receive: F/C Jaren Jackson Jr., G/F Desmond Bane, F Danny Green, MEM 2023 1st Round Pick (Unprotected), GSW 2024 1st Round Pick (Top-4 Protected), MEM 2025 1st Round Pick (Unprotected)
This is perhaps one of the most intriguing scenarios that could be presented to the Brooklyn Nets. Out of all the teams in the league, the Memphis Grizzlies have some very enticing assets that could very well be lumped together in a trade for Kevin Durant.
Having the second-best record in the league this past year, it is very clear that the Grizzlies are the real deal. However, All-Star Ja Morant needs help and there is no better help a team can get than a player like Durant.
Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane are both great young talents in this league that have a ton of potential still left untapped, but they would most likely have to be sacrificed in a trade for Kevin Durant, especially if Dillon Brooks is not involved in the deal.
Bane emerged as a Most Improved Player candidate this past season and Jackson Jr. continues to grow into one of the best frontcourt defenders in the league. These two as key talking points in a Kevin Durant trade scenario would be very appealing to the Brooklyn Nets, as would three first-round picks in 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Overall, this is not a terrible deal whatsoever for the Brooklyn Nets, as they get two young players on the rise to stardom, plus draft compensation they forfeited in 2021 to get James Harden.
For the Memphis Grizzlies, GM Zach Kleiman would pull off yet another magnificent deal to set the Grizzlies up for a possible championship run immediately. Are they willing to sacrifice their future and youth though for Durant?