Since Kevin Durant requested a trade from the Nets on Thursday, his business manager, Rich Kleiman, has been working with Nets general manager Sean Marks to secure a trade.
While “more than half of the league” has strived to put together trade packages and has contacted Brooklyn regarding Durant’s services, it could be very difficult for Brooklyn to deal the 12-time All-Star.
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix reported that Brooklyn has a “steep asking price” for Durant, and the franchise has no plans to deviate from its bid.
“Two All-Star caliber talents and a cache of draft picks,” Mannix wrote. “If a team doesn’t have that, one exec said, the response has been ‘well go out and get it.’”
While Brooklyn has set its price tag, one NBA rule in particular could make Durant’s trade request more difficult when it comes to the caliber of players the franchise plans to go after in a deal. The NBA’s designated rookie rule allows teams to sign players coming off rookie contracts to a five-year extension rather than normal four. While a team can choose up to two rookies for these contracts, it can only receive one from a trade. Currently, if Brooklyn decides to keep Ben Simmons, the Nets cannot designate a contract extension for another player in a trade for Durant due to Simmons already holding one contract.
As the Nets aim to avoid a rebuild, this rule currently prevents them from going after “All-Star caliber” players like Luka Dončić, Trae Young, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, De’Aaron Fox, Donovan Mitchell, Bam Adebayo, Jayson Tatum, Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, Jamal Murray, Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid. While many of the players would not be included in a trade package for Durant to begin with, the possibility still remained.
However, two players—Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram and Raptors’ Pascal Siakam— are potential pieces to be included in a trade package. Ingram signed a five-year extension in 2020 offseason. However, because Ingram signed the extension as a restricted free agent with Bird Rights, his contract does not include the designated rookie rule. Meanwhile, Siakam’s four-year contract incorporates the Derrick Rose rule, which allowed him to earn 25% of the salary during the first season of his deal. That, in addition to the NBA’s rule impacting five-year contracts, Siakam remains eligible.
From a solutions standpoint, the Nets could trade Simmons to another team. Or, the franchise could “re-route a player some of the players on the list to a third team for assets that it could acquire next to Simmons,” according to CBS Sports.
For now, the wait remains to see where Durant will play basketball next season.
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