Just when you considered the 2022 absolutely free agency period was heading to be an Ambien pill, the Brooklyn Nets cleaning soap opera returned to inject an adrenaline needle to the vein.
Just three times after Kyrie Irving defused his own ticking time bomb by opting to keep on being a Net, Kevin Durant selected to clean his possess exit route. The latest Nets soap opera episode started Thursday with a mundane throwaway storyline in which the Nets acquired Utah Jazz defensive stopper Royce O’Neal. Nevertheless, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets are in the procedure of acquiescing a trade demand Durant designed to operator Joseph Tsai.
The news shook the earth just days soon after Kyrie Irving resolved to decide-in and commit to the Nets for one particular much more time. In retrospect, the vow to fulfill his four-calendar year commitment to the Nets may perhaps have been a passive-intense elbow in Durant’s direction.
When Durant chose to backlink up with Irving in Brooklyn, Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck printed a column that described Durant’s final decision.
By way of B/R:
“Durant experienced grown weary of the perpetual drama in Golden State, even though top the Warriors to two straight championships. What some found refreshing about the Warriors — their massive personalities, their outspokenness on equally on- and off-courtroom concerns — Durant uncovered distracting. He wanted a group that positioned basketball previously mentioned all else.”
The optimistic outlook back again then was that Irving and Durant’s genuine friendship would temper their destructive tendencies. Any realist understood this was constantly how it was heading to stop for these two. After they ended up on the courtroom together, sparks flew. In 2021, they executed just one of the most economical offenses in NBA history.
But off the courtroom, they consistently came dangerously near to detonating. Irving’s concentration on basketball was always tenuous. One particular moment, his concentration was solely on basketball and the subsequent, he was burned out, getting two-7 days sabbaticals, getting a rigid stance towards the COVID vaccine even if it meant leaving his teammates on the hook. The shocker is that Durant was the one who pulled the pin on the Nets grenade.
When Durant is traded, it will be his fourth staff in 6 a long time. So the place will Durant’s travels choose him up coming? The landscape staying so fertile for Durant makes that difficult to pin down, even though Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes has claimed that Durant’s most well-liked vacation spot would be the Phoenix Suns.
Durant’s curiosity can make limited absolutely free agent Deandre Ayton a key indication-and-trade applicant. Phoenix essential a lifeline this offseason. Their reluctance to sign Ayton to a 5-year $177 million extension or match the 4-year $131 million agreement that other groups can signal him to put them in a difficult situation. Supplied their limited championship window, Phoenix would do whatsoever it can take to slot Durant concerning Devin Booker, perimeter defensive pincer Mikal Bridges and Chris Paul as quickly as doable. The Nets may possibly demand Bridges as a sacrifice, but it’s just one the Suns would make in a scorching second.
The Portland Trail Blazers have been lobbying really hard for Durant. Don’t be shocked if Mayor Ted Wheeler hosts a reside push meeting to woo KD to their title-starved hoops-obsessed metropolis. Portland has the finest formulation of picks and young expertise to sacrifice to the Altar of Durant while keeping a roster deep ample to contend. They could throw many firsts, Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe in Brooklyn’s route and each groups could be material. The Blazers may fight to continue to keep Simons, but if it turns into a dealbreaker, his bags will be packed for him.
The Lakers will make perception on paper. Durant joining LeBron would be the best mashup. For years, they duked it out as the best-2 players in the league. They’ve both stumbled from their peaks, but their apex is so higher, that they’re continue to regularly prime-five gamers when they’re at their worst. From the Brooklyn Nets’ angle, Anthony Davis, 29, may possibly have enough juice remaining in his tank to be an All-NBA significant for an additional five several years. His porcelain bones will normally be a concern but when he’s nutritious, he’s an elite, two-way velociraptor.
Miami acquired the cold shoulder from Jalen Brunson right now just after he signed a four-year $110M offer with the Knicks, but re-inserted by themselves into the Durant discussions.
Nonetheless, the Warmth really do not individual a first-spherical select until eventually 2024 and cannot give up consecutive firsts mainly because of The Stepien Rule, which stops groups from staying devoid of to start with-round picks in consecutive drafts. For Brooklyn to surrender a player of Durant’s caliber they’d probable talk to for Bam Adebayo. The Nets would be precluded from swapping Durant for Adebayo for the reason that of an obscure rule that helps prevent teams from getting two gamers who ended up obtained by using trades when they are on Specified Rookie Extension contracts. Following investing for Ben Simmons at the trade deadline, the only way Adebayo could wind up on the Nets is if Simmons ended up traded. Which is not outside the realm of prospects, but unlikely for the reason that his trade inventory is in the basement.
Still, where by there is a will there’s a way. NBA execs have published the guide on twisting by way of company loopholes, but just simply because they can does not imply they need to.
Two issue-facilities as the focal level of the Nets lineup for the next couple of yrs is as problematic as Embiid and Simmons plodding by way of the rush hour traffic in the paint. Nevertheless, a 3-group trade in which Durant is whisked off to Miami, Bam transported to one more team, who traded their celebrity to Brooklyn would be amenable to Miami and Brooklyn. Getting that third crew is simpler said than d1.
The Nets will have a pile of options to evaluation. Eventually, where ever Durant ends up will upend the league.