Kevin Durant Requests trade from Brooklyn Nets in NBA bombshell
Kevin Durant, the franchise star, sought a trade from the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, according to his business manager Rich Kleiman, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.Nets general manager Sean Marks is negotiating a deal with Durant and Kleiman, according to Kleiman.It is extremely uncommon for a player of Durant’s ability to be moved in a trade, but what makes him even more desirable as a trade chip is that he signed a four-year contract extension that begins this week, meaning that a club that gets Durant will know they will have him until 2026.
According to Wojnarowski, Durant has the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat on his want list for a potential deal. However, according to Wojnarowski, the Nets are not committed to fulfilling any of Durant’s chosen destinations and intend to strike a deal that maximises their asset return.
To that point, more than half the teams in the NBA have already inquired about what it will take to get Durant from Brooklyn, sources told Wojnarowski — just one of many reasons why the Nets will be looking for a potentially historic return for him in a deal.
Durant’s decision to ask for a trade is the pinnacle of a week of uncertainty that has surrounded the Nets, ever since the friction between the franchise and Kyrie Irving surfaced last week.
According to Wojnarowski, Durant has the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat on his want list for a potential deal. However, according to Wojnarowski, the Nets are not committed to fulfilling any of Durant’s chosen destinations and intend to strike a deal that maximises their asset return.Irving opted into the last year of his contract when the Nets were unable to locate a viable sign-and-trade from his preferred list of destinations, which included the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Heat, Dallas Mavericks, and Philadelphia 76ers.
According to Wojnarowski, only the Lakers were interested in offering Irving a max contract, and they didn’t have a package to give the Nets that was tempting enough to get a sign-and-trade deal done.
He and Irving had no communication with the Nets after Irving opted into his $37 million contract on Monday, and there was a notion that Durant would ultimately want a trade, according to Wojnarowski.
Now, the spotlight has switched to Durant, 33, and the potential of one of the game’s best players — a 12-time All-Star and four-time league scoring champion — becoming available with four years and over $200 million left on his contract.
This moment comes nearly three years after Durant and Irving revealed their intention to join forces in Brooklyn as free agents. Assuming their Brooklyn relationship is finished, the two of them played 58 games (including playoffs) together over three seasons, including one in which Durant was rehabbing from a ruptured Achilles.
During that period, the Nets only won one postseason series.
Brooklyn began the season with Durant, Irving, and James Harden as the favourites to win the NBA title, according to many analysts. Instead, the Nets ended 44-38, enough for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. After advancing from the play-in round, they were swept in the first round by the eventual Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics.
Durant averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.4 assists this season, however he only played in 55 regular-season games due to an MCL injury.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, if the two-time NBA champion and three-time Olympic gold medalist is transferred, he will have the greatest scoring average of any player who starts the next season on a different team since Moses Malone was dealt from Houston to Philadelphia following the 1981-82 season.
Following news of Durant’s trade request, sportsbooks changed the odds to make the Suns the favourite to win the NBA championship next season.
At Caesars Sportsbook, Phoenix’s title odds jump from 9-1 to 11-2. The defending champion Golden State Warriors are 6-1, followed by Boston, who is 13-1. Miami’s odds jumped from 16-1 to 8-1 Thursday afternoon, while the Nets’ title odds increased from 15-2 to 30-1.
Separately, the Nets agreed to a trade with the Utah Jazz on Thursday that saw Brooklyn acquire forward Royce O’Neale in return for a 2023 first-round selection, according to Wojnarowski.According to Wojnarowski, the choice will be the lower of the three from Brooklyn, Houston, and Philadelphia.
O’Neale, 29, averaged 7.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in his sixth season with the Jazz last season, and is under contract for this season plus a non-guaranteed year in 2023-24.