Top potential trade destinations for Kevin Durant
After signing with the Brooklyn Nets in the summer of 2019, the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving era for Brooklyn looks like they will be coming to a disastrous end. Just over a week ago, two-time NBA Finals MVP, two-time NBA Champion, and former NBA MVP Kevin Durant went straight to Brooklyn Nets owner Joseph Tsai and requested a trade. As expected, it was reported that over half of the teams in the NBA have reached out to the Nets to gauge the price for KD and discuss potential trades for the Nets' star Forward. Durant is without a doubt still one of the top players in the NBA, coming off a season in which he averaged twenty-nine points, seven rebounds, and six assists per game in the fifty-five games he played. Although shockwaves were sent around the league when Durant requested a trade, there has yet to be a team to come close to an agreement with the Nets for Durant, as the price is steep. Brooklyn is looking for two All-Star caliber players and multiple first-round picks in exchange for Durant, a hefty price for the eleven-time All-Star, who is set to turn thirty-four before the start of the 2022-2023 NBA season. Thus being said, let's take a look at the top potential teams for Durant to be traded to.
Phoenix is reportedly one of the preferred trade destinations for Kevin Durant at the time he requested a trade, and the addition of the former MVP is exactly what they need to get them over the hump. Phoenix finished with the best record in the NBA this season (64-18) and was the number one seed in the Western Conference going into the playoffs. However, their season came to a disappointing end, after they were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs after an abysmal performance in game seven against the Dallas Mavericks. Durant’s generational scoring ability and overall offensive talent alongside Devin Booker and Chris Paul would make the Suns nearly impossible to defend. Defensively, Durant would not be able to completely make up for the potential loss of Mikal Bridges, Deandre Ayton, and others that would be involved in a potential trade for KD. However, when talking about a player with the magnitude of KD, losing that defensive prowess would be well worth it. For the Suns, a trade for Durant would likely have to include players like Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and/or Cameron Johnson, along with three or four first-round picks.
Portland Trail Blazers
Portland’s stars like Damian Lillard and starting Center Jusuf Nurkic have made their attempts at recruiting Durant to the Trail Blazers through social media. Some NBA fans and members of the NBA community didn’t take their pitch seriously; however, the Trail Blazers have the assets to make a trade for Durant. Portland finished the regular season with a 27-55 record after losing Damian Lillard for most of the season, and trading guard CJ McCollum. After trading McCollum, there was large speculation around the future of the Trail Blazers, with many questions about the possibility of also trading Dame Lillard and beginning to rebuild the franchise. Portland believes they can still compete, as they showed through trading for forward Jerami Grant. For the Blazers, it’s now more about continuing to find pieces that will allow them to compete, and Durant would certainly be one of them. Possible trade for Durant would likely include some of Portland’s younger players like Anfernee Simons, Shaedon Sharpe, or Josh Hart, along with multiple first-round picks.
Miami was reportedly Kevin Durant’s other preferred destination when he requested a trade from Brooklyn, which is fitting based on the Heat's success this season. Miami was one game away from the NBA Finals as they fell to the Boston Celtics in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals after being the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. Miami is likely to have more trouble trading for Durant though, as they’d have to jump through some hoops to make the cap space part of the deal work. Miami also would be unable to include Center Bam Adebayo in any trade for Durant, unless Brooklyn can trade away Ben Simmons as well as KD. This is due to the NBA’s rookie rule, allowing a team to only receive one player via trade that is coming off a rookie contract and going into a five-year max extension (Ben Simmons in this case). Miami would likely have to send players like Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo along with multiple first-round picks to make a deal for Kevin Durant possible.
It was reported shortly after Durant requested a trade, that Toronto is a team that’s very interested in Durant, and is a dark horse to potentially pull off a trade for KD. The Raptors are trying to boost their roster back to championship level, as they search for another title after winning their first in 2019. Toronto finished the season with a 48-34 record and was eliminated by Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs. The Raptors have a diverse roster, with multiple talented young pieces like Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent Jr., as well as veteran leaders from their 2019 championship team like Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam, making a trade for Durant well in-play. Toronto would likely have to give up the reigning Rookie of the Year, Scottie Barnes, along with a player like OG Anunoby or Gary Trent Jr. as well as multiple first-round picks. Or, Toronto could elect to trade away one of their veteran pieces like Pascal Siakam along with multiple unprotected first-round picks.
Durant landing in Cleveland may be a long shot however, I think Durant would fit perfectly with a young Cavaliers team that’s on the rise, and the addition of KD would make them instant contenders. Cleveland finished the season with a 44-38 record and was eliminated from the play-in tournament as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs would be unable to trade Point Guard Darius Garland for Durant due to an extension that Garland recently signed, as well as the NBA’s rookie rule. Cleveland would likely have to give up Rookie of the Year runner-up, Evan Mobley, in any trade for Durant. However, if the Cavaliers bring back restricted free agent Collin Sexton, they could potentially use Sexton, and another young player in a trade for Durant, along with multiple first-round picks.
*All stats were received from ESPN's Stats & Info. Department*