Quick Bit: There are a few factors involved that have brought Durant trade discussions to a halt.
To point out the obvious, any team would be happy to acquire Kevin Durant.
While he did struggle in the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs, the Nets star is coming off a terrific regular season in which he averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game. Durant remains one of the best players in the league, and his presence could significantly boost a contender’s championship chances.
So, nearly one month since Durant requested a trade out of Brooklyn, why is he still a member of the Nets?
There are a few factors involved that have brought Durant trade discussions to a halt.
Why haven’t the Nets traded Kevin Durant?
The biggest issue here: No one has met the Nets’ asking price — or come remotely close.
As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted when he reported on the Celtics’ interest in a potential Durant trade, “No team has yet to reach the significant threshold that the Nets have set.” Brooklyn wants “at least one bona fide All-Star-caliber player, other contributing players and significant draft capital to consider any Durant package,” according to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer.
That may seem like a wild asking price — and yeah, it is — but the Nets can set the bar high because Durant is under contract through the 2025-26 season. Brooklyn has even signaled that it is willing to keep Durant as it heads into training camp.
(The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Durant hasn’t changed his stance on a trade request, leading some executives to question whether a training camp holdout would be on the table if a trade doesn’t happen.)
Suitors must evaluate how much they could lose in a Durant trade and what kind of roster they would be putting around him.
Could a soon-to-be 34-year-old Durant, who has dealt with multiple injuries in recent seasons, carry a team to a title without much of a supporting cast? Could a front office continue to acquire supporting pieces after using so many assets? And what would stop Durant from wanting to hit the eject button with his next team?
Throw in the fact that plenty of folks in the NBA community have left the stresses of work behind and gone on much-needed vacations after two COVID-impacted seasons, and it shouldn’t come as a shock that negotiations are at a standstill.
What is preventing Kevin Durant trade suitors from acquiring him?
With the general situation covered, let’s dig into the specifics for the teams that have been attached to Durant.
As mentioned above, Boston recently spoke to Brooklyn about a possible deal, but how recently is unclear. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst described those conversations as “not fresh,” and Fischer reported that the most serious discussions took place “weeks ago at the beginning of July.” Nothing appears to be imminent.
Putting the timeline aside, the Celtics’ proposed package of Jaylen Brown, Derrick White and a draft pick was rejected by the Nets, per Charania. Brooklyn reportedly wants Brown, Marcus Smart, draft picks and potentially one more rotation player included in any proposal.
Boston was only two wins away from winning the championship last season, so it could be comfortable with where it stands after adding Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari this offseason. However, the Celtics could view Durant as the piece that pushes them over the finish line.
Miami just doesn’t have a ton of intriguing trade assets. The Nets have “displayed little interest” in the Heat’s offers, according to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang. Brooklyn has shown interest in Bam Adebayo, but Miami hasn’t included the 25-year-old big man in its offers.
(It’s also worth noting that the Nets can only acquire Adebayo if it trades Simmons because of an NBA rule regarding players on designated rookie extensions.)
Simply put, Tyler Herro isn’t good enough to be the centerpiece of a Durant trade. If the Heat want to complete a deal, they may have to involve a third team.
Based on the available reporting so far, this one is pretty straightforward. Toronto doesn’t want to part ways with Scottie Barnes. Brooklyn wouldn’t consider a deal if the Rookie of the Year isn’t involved.
It’s a staring contest, and neither side wants to blink.
Phoenix was reportedly atop Durant’s wish list when he made his trade request on June 30, but the Suns “appear to be all but eliminated from the Durant sweepstakes” after re-signing Deandre Ayton, according to Charania.
While the Nets didn’t seem enthusiastic about bringing Ayton back as part of a trade package, the Suns could have picked up additional assets for Ayton or worked with Brooklyn on a complicated three-team deal.
With a new contract signed, Ayton is now ineligible to be traded until Jan. 15 and holds veto power on any trade for a full year.
Despite some speculation about a possible reunion, Golden State general manager Bob Myers suggested that the champs aren’t going to pursue a Durant trade. It’s difficult to argue with his thought process.
“I like our team and where it’s at,” Myers told NBA.com’s Mark Medina. “I want to give the guys a chance to do it again. … It’s a good group. We’re lucky. It’ll be fun to see. We were really hunting last year. Now I guess we’re back to being the hunted, which I didn’t think we’d be.
“We’ll see. I think we can handle it.”
Originally found on Sporting News Read More