Kevin Durant traded to the Phoenix Suns

Kevin Durant traded to the Phoenix Suns

Kevin Durant, an All-NBA forward, was traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday for a package that also included dynamic forward Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, and four unprotected future first-round picks. This came after more than three turbulent years and his second trade request in eight months.

Prior to Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, a late-night deal was reached that sent Durant and T.J. Warren to the Suns in exchange for a hefty haul of first-round lottery selections (2023, 2025, 2027, and 2029) as well as a pick swap in 2028.

According to insiders, negotiations had advanced and stopped, and the Suns seemed to be shifting their focus toward a three-way trade that may have netted them Atlanta’s John Collins on Thursday morning. It wasn’t long until Ishbia and Nets owner Joe Tsai put the finishing touches on the historic transaction, according to insiders. On the instruction of his new owner, Mat Ishbia, general manager James Jones texted Nets GM Sean Marks just after 11 p.m. ET.

“After thorough evaluation of the best path forward, we believe making this trade now positions the franchise for long-term success, Mikal and Cam are elite, ascending, versatile wings, plus the draft capital provides us additional avenues to continue to acquire talent. We remain steadfast in our commitment to building the team Brooklyn deserves. We are excited to welcome Mikal, Cam and their families to Brooklyn and thank Kevin for the moments and memories he delivered our fanbase,” the Nets GM said recently.

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The agreement puts a stop to Brooklyn’s great superstar experiment by sending Durant to the desert to team up with Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton. James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Durant all came together to take the NBA by storm, yet they all departed with the muscle of trade demands. They participated in 16 games together in total.

Irving was moved to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, which marked the beginning of Durant’s final days and hours as a Net. Irving had played a significant part in the turmoil that ultimately led to the roster’s deconstruction. A right knee MCL injury has kept the two-time Finals MVP out of action, but sources expressed confidence that he will be able to return after the All-Star break.

According to insiders, Durant and his business manager Rich Kleiman informed Tsai and Marks that a contract with Phoenix was what they preferred. In his first week as the organization’s manager, Ishbia set out to recruit Durant after learning of his intention to join his team. Few teams ever had the opportunity to acquire a talent like Durant through trade, and this club hadn’t done so since acquiring Charles Barkley in 1992.

Ishbia’s primary goal was to prevent Bridges from being traded, but the Nets made that impossible. On Monday and Tuesday, the Suns’ proposals fell short of the Nets’ asking price, and Marks continued to look into potential deals to improve the Durant-centered lineup. The Nets sought OG Anunoby in Toronto and spoke about trading for Collins and Caris LeVert of Cleveland, but Durant’s temperament was off, so Brooklyn realized it had to pressure Phoenix to make an offer it couldn’t reject. Casino

Ishbia wouldn’t call it a night without making one last attempt to get Durant, and the Suns had been in talks with Detroit about the prospect of obtaining Collins in a three-way deal with Atlanta.

The sides were close to reaching an agreement until the Suns agreed to remove Dario Saric’s contract from the trade, saving them from having to give up second-round selections to cover his compensation, according to sources.

There was the outline of a transaction that made sense to the Nets since Brooklyn thought it had a chance to trade Crowder before the deadline on Thursday.

The Nets most likely weren’t talented enough to win a championship this year or fend off another trade request from Durant. Brooklyn has made itself whole again after giving up numerous first-round selections to the Houston Rockets in 2021 for Harden by obtaining picks in deals that offloaded Durant, Irving, and Harden: seven transferable first-rounders over the following seven years. First-round selections in 2024 and 2026 are still owed by Brooklyn to Houston, while the Rockets have the option to trade first-round picks in 2025 and 2027.

Brooklyn has established itself as a scouting and player development powerhouse under the leadership of Marks and associate general manager Jeff Peterson, and that will continue under head coach Jacque Vaughn. The Nets had tried to convince Durant to remain with them, but he desired to play for the Suns in the West.

Ishbia finally refused to go to sleep on Wednesday night and asked his general manager to try again to strike a deal with Brooklyn. It succeeded. The NBA trade deadline was active in the early hours when the Suns acquired Durant.

Author: Bobby Parker