The Brooklyn Nets experiment with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving just isn't working. We are entering the third season with this dynamic duo together in Brooklyn and it seemingly gets worse every season. Unfortunately for Durant, most of it has not been on him. But Irving can't seem to help it. He continues to find himself in the middle of a firestorm of controversy, whether that is COVID-19 vaccine related, or now amplifying anti-semitism through social media. This should lead to a Kevin Durant trade.
On Thursday, the Brooklyn Nets decided to suspend Irving for five games following his failure to apologize and show contrition for his actions. Irving's lack of understanding led to the Anti-Defamation League turning down his $500,000 donation. Let that sink in.
The Nets were already off to a terrible start this season. They fired head coach Steve Nash, with whom both Irving and Durant expressed was their will during the offseason. Ben Simmons continues to struggle being productive on the basketball court. The team is 2-6 and sit at the bottom of the Atlantic Division.
The writing is on the wall. It's been on the wall, but now you just can't look away. This stink is not going to go away.
So, let's dive into the 3 best deals the Nets can make in a Kevin Durant trade.
3. Nets trade Kevin Durant to Grizzlies for Jaren Jackson Jr., picks
The Memphis Grizzlies had previously expressed interest in trading for Durant. However, it was reported that they were unwilling to include either Desmond Bane or Jaren Jackson Jr. However, that was prior to the procedure Jackson Jr. underwent on his stress fracture in his foot. He is not expected back until sometime after New Year's.
Jackson Jr. played in just 11 games in the 2020-2021 season after a meniscus tear before appearing in 78 games last season. He is a game-changer defensively, leading the NBA with 2.3 blocks per game last season. But he can't help the Grizzlies attain home court advantage they so badly need for the first few months. They just might change their tune.
Obviously, it would require more than just Jackson Jr. But they could pair him with Brandon Clarke, Dillon Brooks and add a couple of their bevy of first round picks. That just might get the job done.
The Grizzlies should smell blood in the water. The defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors have looked awful to begin the season, at 3-6. This could be the season the Grizzlies strike.
2. Kevin Durant trade to the Toronto Raptors
Another team that has a wealth of talent and picks they could offer for Durant is the Toronto Raptors. Now, over the summer the Raptors made it clear that they were unwilling to include young, talented Scottie Barnes in any deal. Teams were mostly reluctant to include young talent in the trade considering Durant's age and injury history.
The Nets have said all along that they don't just want role players and picks. But the Raptors have more than just one star. Point guard Fred VanVleet is a bad man. He is a great distributor, can shoot from deep and plays pretty good defense. I believe the Nets could pry him, along with OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr. (names Toronto was previously willing to deal) to go with a couple draft picks could get the deal done.
The Nets need to face reality. The market for Durant is not what they were expecting during the summer. But if you can land a center piece like VanVleet, with a couple very good role players and some picks, that's a pretty good haul.
1. Boston Celtics would trade for KD
After getting so close to an NBA title, Celtics fans are dying to claim title number 18. They are tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for the most NBA Championships in NBA history. Trust me, as a die-hard Celtics fan myself, Bostonians want that chip badly.
Boston previously presented the best offer this summer for Durant. Ultimately, Brooklyn's asking price was too high as they wanted Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, role players and picks. But I think it's about time the Nets ownership comes back to reality. In all professional sports, you practically never land an equal package to the Hall of Fame player you are trading.
You can take advantage of the Celtics watching things slip away. The Ime Udoka scandal rocked the franchise and they now have Joe Mazzulla leading the team. They have started slow out the gates at just 4-3, having lost to the upstart Cleveland Cavaliers twice already.
The Milwaukee Bucks look like the class of the NBA and they don't even have Khris Middleton back yet. Boston just might be willing to make the deal minus Smart. You take Brown, Derrick White and Grant Williams to go with a couple future first round picks for Kevin Durant. That's as good as it is going to get.
Brown looks like he is ready to take his game to a whole other level this season. He was already among the better players in the NBA. This season, he looks like he is one of the best. He is one of the best on-ball defenders in the game, can shoot, dribble and pass. That's a cornerstone piece that is just entering his prime. I could literally argue that Jaylen Brown has more stand-alone trade value than Durant already. If you can get him with talent and picks, they should do it.