By Luke Wiggs
Just hours before free agency opened in the NBA on Thursday, Brooklyn Nets Star Kevin Durant reportedly demanded a trade. https://twitter.com/wojespn/status/1542581090812149767?s=20&t=ii_AoYYS5aSK5MjJ6JjhEA
The shocking news took the basketball world by storm with many rushing to speculate the possible trade return for a player of Durants caliber, not to mention what this meant for the future of fellow Nets Star Kyrie Irving who had just days before opted into his 36 million dollar option.
As the Nets prepare to move one of the most valuable trade assets ever on the market, the entire roster will available to discuss in deals, sources tell ESPN. Teams have been calling on Durant, and the Nets will certainly look for a historic return on players and draft picks.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2022
Possible suitors for Durant immediately began to emerge as the 33-year-old included both the Suns and Heat in his preferred landing spots.
Phoenix and Miami are among two of the teams that Kevin Durant has on his wish list, sources tell ESPN, but the Nets plan to move Durant where they can get the best possible deal. With four years on his contract, there's no shortage of teams willing to unload assets for Durant.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2022
While both would be preferred for Durant in search of his 3rd championship, both lack the substantial capital to land a player of KD’s magnitude. With that said here are 3 possible trade packages that would surely go down as one of the most substantial deals in league history.
1) An ironic reunion: Durant to the Thunder
The Twitter world was quick to point out that only one team had the assets to pull off a trade of this magnitude: The OKC Thunder
Thunder receiver: Kevin Durant
Nets Receive: Josh Giddey, Darius Bazley, Chet Holmgren, Derrick Favors, Mike Muscala, 2023 first-round pick, 2023 Wizards first-round pick (lottery protected), 2024 Rockets first-round pick (first 4 protected), 2025 first-round pick
The Thunder potentially possesses as many as 15 first-round picks over the next 4 seasons and have an arsenal of young talent to include as well.
Brooklyn receives a young front-court duo in Holmgren and Bazley with the ability to stretch the floor, and Josh Giddey who is coming off a season averaging 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 6.4 assists at just 19 years old. The other 2 just make the salaries work.
Nets potential starting 5: Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, Josh Giddey, Ben Simmons, Chet Holmgren
Thunder potential starting 5: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lou Dort, Aaron Wiggins, Kevin Durant, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl
The Thunder may not look like world-beaters yet, but with 2 stars in SGA and KD, along with Dort resigning recently, the framework is there to bring in another max player and to use the remaining draft capital to build around Durant.
2) Boston adds their missing piece: Durant becomes a Celtic
This seems to me to be the most ideal trade to appease both Durant’s desire to win while also lining the Net’s pockets. Not to mention the Nets have never been burned trading with the Celtics before.
Celtics receive: Kevin Durant
Nets Receive: Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Grant Williams, Aaron Neismith, 2023 first, 2025 first, 2027 first, plus potential swaps
This gives Brooklyn a star back in Brown, a defensive identity in Smart and Williams, and Neismith who was one of my favorite players in his draft class still with the potential to be a world-class shooter.
Nets potential starting 5: Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, Jaylen Brown, Grant Williams, Nick Claxton
Celtics potential starting 5: Peyton Pritchard, Jason Tatum, Kevin Durant, Al Horford, Robert Williams
The Celtics would still be in need of a point guard but add the piece that many said was the difference in their finals loss to Golden State.
3) Durant’s coming home: KD to the Wizards, let’s get weird with it
Let’s be honest, no collection of young talent and future draft picks will ever be enough when a superstar is on the table. The only way to trade for a star fairly is to give one up in return.
Wizards receive: Kevin Durant
Nets receive: Bradley Beal, Rui Hachimura, Johnny Davis, 2024 first-round pick, 2026 first-round pick
Washington’s moves in recent days (Monte Morris, Delon Wright, Will Barton) have done well deepening the backcourt. In this trade they do right by Beal, trading him to a “contender” and bringing Durant into the fold with an interesting cast of characters to compete with, not to mention bringing him back to the place of his birth.
The Nets then would have arguably the best backcourt in the conference, a budding bench scorer in Davis, and a reclamation project in Hachimura.
Potential Nets starting 5: Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, Joe Harris, Rui Hachimure, Nick Claxton
Potential Wizards starting 5: Monte Morris, Will Barton, Kevin Durant, Kyle Kuzma, Kristaps Porzingus