Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving trade talks; Deandre Ayton free agency
Several NBA executives considering roster changes and agents hoping to broker deals for their remaining clients in the free agent market are eagerly awaiting a Durant trade to materialize. However, there is skepticism in the league that a Durant trade will happen soon, and talks could linger in training camp.
Currently, the Nets are looking for a combination of the teams best assets, including any All-Star player, young up-and-coming players with All-Star potential, and important unprotected draft picks and pick trades as appropriate for Durant, but those business packages are not currently materializing.
After Utah received four first-round picks and a pick trade as part of the Rudy Gobert trade with Minnesota, Brooklyn awaits a royal ransom for Durant.
Five NBA executives who spoke with HoopsHype at the Vegas Summer League felt Minnesota was overpaying Gobert and raising Durant’s price in the process. When asked in general what Durant’s business value should be after the Delete Murray and Gobert trades, an NBA general manager told HoopsHype, “Durant is worth a James Harden type of package.
Several executives who spoke to HoopsHype believe that while at least half the league would have expressed exploratory interest in the Durant trade, adjustments for realistic trade partners could at best be limited to a handful of teams. Only playoff-contending teams make realistic sense to trade Durant, who turns 34 in September.
The Suns and Heat, two of Durant’s favorite destinations, would have to expand a potential trade to three or four teams to meet Brooklyn’s asking price.
Raptors reluctant to part ways with rookie of the year Scottie Barnes in any potential trade negotiations for Durant, league sources told HoopsHype. The Nets would push for Barnes to be included in any trade scenario involving Durant. OG Anunoby is a player Toronto was reluctant to trade when other teams inquired, including turning down Portland’s interest in trading for him with the seventh overall pick. It’s unclear if Toronto would include Anunoby in trade talks for Durant. Logically speaking, an All-Star forward-centric package Pascal Siakam and Gary Trent Jr. could be Toronto’s starting point in trade talks, but the Nets would certainly push further.
The Pelicans have a hand in getting Durant, but several NBA executives don’t think a small market team like New Orleans would make a strong push for Durant since they have two young All-Stars in the pipeline. Sion Williamson signed to an extension and Brandon Ingram signed in the next three seasons. Other rival executives believe Durant wouldn’t want to be traded to New Orleans.
The Clippers believe they are potential title contenders with the healthy duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul Georgewho are both close to each other and arguably the deepest team in the league.
The Warriors have several young assets on paper, including Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, James Wiseman and Moses Moodybut Golden State would be reluctant to give up all of those assets in a business proposal from Durant, HoopsHype has learned. Andre Wiggins would be an attractive trade chip and just completed an All-Star season, but he can’t be included in a Durant trade at this time, as our USA TODAY colleagues at For The Win explain in depth.
So what if a commercial package for Durant doesn’t materialize through training camp?
“I would tell Durant we’re not trading you,” a former NBA general manager told HoopsHype.
Durant is signed for the next four years with no player options in his contract, and many in the league believe Brooklyn has the leverage despite his trade demand.
“Durant loves to play,” another general manager told HoopsHype. “I don’t think he has the courage to sit down. I would play him and I would try to convince him and Kyrie (Irving) it’s their best chance of winning.
Keep in mind that Durant has helped build the Nets roster since signing with Brooklyn, including vouching for several veteran additions during his time with the team, such as DeAndre Jordan, James Johnson, Blake Griffin, The Marcus Aldridge and Michael Beasleyleague sources told HoopsHype.
Expect the Nets to keep Durant until they get a sponsorship offer with the subtle hope that he will change his mind and want to stay with the Nets and fulfill his four-year contract extension.
As an opposing coach for a Western Conference team told HoopsHype, “Durant is the best professional scorer the game has ever seen.”