The news keeps on coming for the Brooklyn Nets regarding their two big stars, although this time it wasn’t exactly a positive one and involves the second guy in contention, Kevin Durant.
The franchise has been living weeks of tension due to a possible dismantling of its roster. Kyrie Irving, who was wavering on whether or not to opt in, confirmed that he would stay for one more season, but the Nets have already received a trade request from Kevin Durant after several weeks of estrangement between the organization and the superstar, his agent told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Wojnarowski also mentioned that Nets general manager Sean Marks is already working on finding a destination for the player, although this may not be a complicated task as the same reports indicate that more than half of the teams in the NBA have already called Brooklyn’s offices asking about Kevin Durant.
There is plenty of interest around the league in Durant, but the Brooklyn Nets will only listen to eye-popping proposals in exchange for the player, who has four years remaining on his contract totaling $194 million in salary. Knowing this… Which team could acquire KD?
Possible NBA destinations for Kevin Durant
Strong candidate: Phoenix Suns (+500)
The Phoenix Suns, who finished as the Western Conference regular-season leaders in the 2021/22 NBA season, look like one of Durant’s favorite destinations in a potential trade.
The Suns have everything both the player and the Brooklyn Nets could want: good chips for a trade and a winning project to offer Kevin Durant.
Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton, who will become a free agent but could be included if the Suns make a sign-and-trade with him, are players that could benefit the Nets both now and in the future. In addition, securing Durant’s services could make Phoenix a strong championship contender after having outstanding performances over the past couple of seasons, including an appearance in the NBA Finals in 2021.
Strong candidate: Miami Heat (+ 350)
The other preferred destination for Kevin Durant in a possible trade is the Miami Heat, who also led the Eastern Conference last season and reached the NBA Finals in 2020, although the move will surely not be to the Brooklyn Nets’ liking considering this is a direct rival in the fight for playoff spots.
Similar to the Suns, the Heat have everything they need to make the trade a reality. Miami has a winning blueprint that will appeal to Durant, who left the Golden State Warriors craving just that: championships and new challenges.
Added to this, Miami could offer a pretty juicy package with the NBA’s current best sixth man, Tyler Herro, plus multiple future first-round draft picks, though if we compare future picks to players for the present, the Heat may not have an easy time competing with the Suns for a trade.
Distant contender: Toronto Raptors (+ 700)
Without making much noise, the Toronto Raptors might also be able to make a splash to acquire Kevin Durant, and this could put the organization back in the talk for the top spots in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
The Raptors have full control of their future first-round picks in the NBA Draft, and they have enough salary cap space to be able to afford the player. In addition, they also have one of the best elements for a trade in Scottie Barnes, the league’s rookie of the year in the 2021/22 season.
However, this would force the company to choose between a bright future and betting everything on the present. The decision will be in the hands of the organization’s president, Masai Ujiri, and considering that they already made a similar move in 2019 – and that it earned them a championship after acquiring Kawhi Leonard – to think about a possible trade for Kevin Durant to head north of the border is not crazy.
Distant contender: Memphis Grizzlies (+ 750)
How about adding some NBA experience to a team with a promising future? The Memphis Grizzlies have one of the best projections in the league for the next few years, and could afford to add Kevin Durant without changing that much in the long run.
Memphis had the second best record in the Western Conference in 2021/22, and Durant could be the piece they are missing to really compete for a spot in the NBA Finals. However, if they want to keep Ja Morant in the organization, theGrizzlies may have to shed some roster depth by trading away players like Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. and are also counting on future first-round picks in the NBA draft to make their offer more attractive.
Longshot: Portland Trail Blazers (+ 1000)
No one is considering the Portland Trail Blazers as a future destination for Kevin Durant, but certainly the franchise has both the need and the resources to acquire the player.
Damian Lillard, superstar in Portland, has shown his desire to be part of a winning project and his dissatisfaction with the current situation of the team. Acquiring Durant, then, could put a smile back on Lillard’s face and may put the Trail Blazers back in contention for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Portland could offer up-and-comer Anfernee Simons (who is a restricted free agent), Shaedon Sharpe and several draft picks in a deal, and while the package might be less interesting than others offered to the Nets, one may be allowed to dream.
Someone who also dreams about this is Lillard himself, who shared weeks ago an edited photo of him and Durant wearing a Trail Blazers jersey. Could it have been a premonition? We will surely know soon.
Longshot: Oklahoma City Thunder (+ 1200)
Will there be a possible homecoming for Kevin Durant? Oklahoma has been collecting a huge amount of draft picks over the past few seasons thanks to trades and in-season results, and no other team could match an offer like theirs in terms of picks.
However, acquiring Kevin Durant would mean a 180-degree turnaround for the franchise: while they have a player with projection like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and picked promising Chet Holmgren with the second overall selection in this draft, there is no other star to complement Durant on the team, which would leave Oklahoma looking for another big name to add to its roster this offseason.
It would be a crazy move, but if Kevin Durant is overcome by nostalgia, we could very well see him go back to where it all started.