Sean Deveney of Heavy.com recently spoke to a couple of NBA executives, one from each conference, about hypothetical trades involving Nets star Kevin Durant.
As Deveney notes, there’s no indication that Brooklyn is looking to move its best player, but perhaps that could change depending on how the team performs over the next couple months. After starting the season 1-5, the Nets have won four of their past six games, currently sitting with a 5-7 record.
Would the Celtics entertain offering Jaylen Brown for Durant, as was rumored over the summer when Durant requested a trade?
“Oh, it would be zero interest from the Celtics, that would be a non-starter,” the East exec said. “Brown’s an All-Star and he’s eight years younger than KD (who is 34). The team’s playing well, they’re not going to touch that. I am sure it will be talked about again, and maybe the Celtics will struggle and things can change. But that would be shocking.”
What about Suns package centered around Deandre Ayton? Phoenix was reportedly one of Durant’s desired landing spots in the offseason, along with Miami. Ayton cannot be traded until January 15 and has a full no-trade clause for one year after he signed a maximum-salary offer sheet with the Pacers as a restricted free agent (the Suns quickly matched), but as Deveney writes, he could waive it if he wants a fresh start.
“Ayton always made the most sense as a return piece for (the Nets),” the West exec said, per Deveney. “There might have been more to the talks between those teams in the summer if his contract situation wasn’t what it was. But, what else would Phoenix give up?”
Deveney believes the Nets would want Mikal Bridges in addition to Ayton, but speculates that a package of Ayton, Cameron Johnson and Jae Crowder might be enough to get a deal done.
Here’s more on the Nets:
- Ben Simmons will come off the bench against the Clippers on Saturday for the third straight game, writes Chris Milholen of Inside The Nets. Simmons has been on a minutes restriction after returning from a four-game absence due to knee soreness and swelling, but head coach Jacque Vaughn said he’s hopeful he’ll gradually be able to increase Simmons’ minutes, per Milholen.
- Forward Yuta Watanabe is currently dealing with a sprained ankle, which has caused him to miss Brooklyn’s blowout victory over the Knicks on Wednesday. Vaughn told reporters, including ESPN’s Nick Friedell (Twitter link), that Watanabe is unlikely to play in the Nets’ upcoming road games this weekend in Los Angeles, a back-to-back set against the Clippers and Lakers.
- The Nets announced on Friday that forward T.J. Warren, who has yet to make his debut in 2022/23, has begun taking contact with coaches in practices recently. The team is hopeful he’ll participate in contact practices with teammates within the next couple weeks, and Brooklyn will provide another update on his status in two weeks (Twitter link via Friedell). Warren signed a minimum-salary deal as a free agent with the Nets and has appeared in just four games since ’20/21 after undergoing consecutive foot surgeries.