Since word broke this afternoon that Nets star Kevin Durant has requested a trade out of Brooklyn, more than half of the teams in the NBA have called to inquire about the former MVP, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said during an appearance on NBA Today this afternoon (video link via Malika Andrews).
The Suns and Heat have been mentioned as two of Durant’s preferred landing spots, but the Nets are expected to take the best deal available to them rather than focusing on sending the veteran forward to a specific destination.
According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the Warriors are probably the only team that can be ruled out as a landing spot for Durant. I’d also be shocked if the Nets were willing to send him to the cross-town Knicks.
Early indications are that the Nets aren’t especially inclined to acquire Deandre Ayton via sign-and-trade as the centerpiece of a Durant deal, Fischer writes, adding that – from Brooklyn’s perspective – any deal with Phoenix or Miami would likely have to start with Devin Booker or Bam Adebayo. However, both of those players are on designated rookie extensions, prohibiting the Nets from acquiring either one unless they move Ben Simmons.
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Given that the Rockets control the Nets’ draft picks (either outright or via swap rights) for the next several years, don’t expect Brooklyn to pivot to a full-fledged rebuild as part of a Durant trade, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said during the same episode of NBA Today (video link)
Windhorst isn’t sure if the Nets will get a superstar in return, but expects them to target selfless, team-first players, citing Suns forward Mikal Bridges as an example. As Windhorst observes, those are the types of players GM Sean Marks spoke about wanting during his end-of-season media session in May.
“We’re looking for guys that want to come in here and be part of something bigger than themselves, play selfless, play team basketball, and be available,” Marks said at the time.
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Windhorst also says his phone is “blowing up” with executives wondering where Kyrie Irving is going to end up. There has been no indication that Irving has requested a trade, but he seems far less likely to remain in Brooklyn for the final year of his contract if Durant is traded.
“If Kevin Durant is on the first train out, Kyrie Irving will be on the caboose as far as the Nets are concerned,” Windhorst said.
According to Fischer, league sources “continue to whisper” about Irving’s desire to join the Lakers and reunite with LeBron James. However, a trade between L.A. and Brooklyn would be challenging, since the Nets reportedly have no interest in Russell Westbrook.