Franchise star Kevin Durant requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, according to Rich Kleiman, his business manager, who spoke to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. This move has the potential to change the NBA for years to come.
According to Kleiman, the Nets general manager Sean Marks is negotiating a deal with Durant and Kleiman.
The fact that Durant signed a four-year contract extension that begins this week makes him an even more valuable trade chip because it is extremely uncommon for a player of Durant’s quality to be traded, and a team that gets him will know they will have him through 2026.
According to Wojnarowski’s sources, Durant has several teams on his want list for a potential trade, including the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns. According to sources who spoke to Wojnarowski, the Nets are not required to accept any of Durant’s top choices and intend to strike a deal that gives them the best possible return on their assets.
According to sources who spoke to Wojnarowski, more than half the NBA teams have already expressed interest in learning what it will take to acquire Durant from Brooklyn. This is just one of many reasons why the Nets will be seeking a potentially historic return for him in a trade.
Since the tension between the Nets and Kyrie Irving first arose last week, a week of ambiguity has surrounded the team, culminating in Durant’s decision to request a trade.
After failing to locate a sign-and-trade that would work for the Nets from his preferred list of teams, which included the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, New York Knicks, Heat, Dallas Mavericks, and Philadelphia 76ers, Irving ultimately decided to enter the final year of his contract.
However, sources told Wojnarowski that only the Lakers were interested in offering Irving a max contract, and they had no package to offer the Nets that was enticing enough to facilitate a sign-and-trade deal.
When Irving chose to sign his $37 million contract on Monday, he and Durant stopped communicating with the Nets, and there was a feeling that Durant would eventually want a trade, according to sources who spoke to Wojnarowski.
The attention has now turned to Durant, 33, who has four years and nearly $200 million left on his contract. Durant is one of the best players in the league, a 12-time All-Star, and a four-time league scoring champion.
This event occurs almost exactly three years to the day after Durant and Irving revealed they would both be signing free agents contracts with Brooklyn. The two of them played a total of 58 games together (including playoffs) over the course of three seasons, including one in which Durant was healing from a torn Achilles. Assuming their partnership in Brooklyn has reached its conclusion.
The Nets only triumphed in one playoff series over that time period.
With James Harden, Durant, and the rest of the starting lineup from this past season, Brooklyn was widely regarded as the favourite to win the NBA championship. Instead, the Nets finished seventh in the Eastern Conference with a 44-38 record. They lost to the eventual Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics in the opening round after winning the play-in tournament.
Durant averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game this season, but he only played in 55 regular-season games while he healed from an MCL injury.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, if the two-time NBA champion and three-time Olympic gold medalist is dealt, it would be the greatest scoring average by any player who began the next season on a different team since Moses Malone was dealt from Houston to Philadelphia after the 1981-82 season.
Following the revelation of Durant’s trade request, sportsbooks changed the odds to make the Suns the favourite to win the NBA championship the following season.
At Caesars Sportsbook, Phoenix’s title odds increase from 9-1 to 11-2. Boston comes in second at 13-1, followed by the defending champion Golden State Warriors at 6-1. On Thursday afternoon, the Nets’ title odds increased from 15-2 to 30-1 while Miami’s odds decreased from 16-1 to 8-1.
Sources tell Wojnarowski that the Nets and Utah Jazz reached a separate agreement on Thursday in which Brooklyn acquired forward Royce O’Neale in return for a 2023 first-round selection.
According to sources, among the choices made by Brooklyn, Houston, and Philadelphia, the option will be the least desirable.
In his fifth season with the Jazz last year, O’Neale, 29, averaged 7.4 points and 4.8 rebounds. He is currently under contract for this year as well as a non-guaranteed year in 2023–24.