As the Brooklyn Nets prepare to rebuild their roster, All-NBA forward Kevin Durant may appear on the trading block once again. Keep in mind that the Brooklyn Nets are in shambles. They simply haven’t looked good on the court, and they’ve been an even more comedic circus of blunders off the court. Kevin Durant won’t say it, but he’d be better off out. Here we will look at the four teams that must go all in on a blockbuster Kevin Durant trade after Kyrie Irving’s suspension.
Do not be shocked if the Kevin Durant sweepstakes are soon reopened. The franchise declined to grant Durant’s trade request over the offseason, but so much has changed that the front office may be more open to the notion now.
Remember that prior to opening night, the Nets were seen as a potential title contender behind Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons. However, they are now 3-6 and in 12th place in the Eastern Conference as of this writing.
While all of this took place on the court, Irving added unnecessary drama by tweeting a link to an anti-Semitic video without any context. The Nets suspended him for at least five games without pay after he initially refused to apologize or denounce the film’s content.
These beg the issue of whether the Nets are postponing the inevitable by retaining Durant and avoiding the full-scale rebuild that his departure would trigger. The thing is, even if the Nets don’t openly confess it, fans can see a burning house, and players know when they’re in it. Durant also won’t say anything out loud, but we’re confident he knows that if he sticks around, things just will not change.
Getting out of Brooklyn will not only be in his best interest but in the franchise’s as well.
Let us look at the four teams that must go all in on a blockbuster Kevin Durant trade after Kyrie Irving’s suspension.
Kevin Durant trade sweepstakes could get hot again, 'whole league' ready to 'reengage' in talks: report https://t.co/Q96nXapIph
— Fox News (@FoxNews) November 5, 2022
4. Washington Wizards
Kevin Durant had every opportunity to join his hometown Washington Wizards during his previous free agency period, but those chances fell through. Now, however, this is a door worth reopening.
Will KD enhance the Wizards’ depth? We believe so. Sure, Washington would have to let go of a couple of key players and a ton of draft assets, but for a shot at KD? It could be worth it.
The most crucial element if the Wiz do acquire KD is to ensure he has a co-star. They already have that in Bradley Beal. Imagine a duo of Durant and Beal. That would potentially be one of the finest NBA pairings this season. Would they have enough left over to sustain them? We’d say yes, especially since Durant is surely much more “attainable” now that in the preseason. His trade value has surely taken a hit, and Washington won’t have to give up as much as they would have in the off-season.
A KD-Beal-led Wizards squad should be good for a strong 50-55 win season. Afterward, that might entice additional talent ahead of the 2023-24 campaign. If Durant can maintain his peak output until then, the Wizards might be on their way to being a genuine contender. That should be worth any price for a franchise as long-suffering as theirs.
3. New York Knicks
Imagining Kevin Durant, a four-time NBA scoring champion, playing his home games at Madison Square Garden, would be something. That would be quite a show.
Recall that back in 2018, he garnered notice with his comments regarding MSG before signing with the Nets in free agency.
“The Garden is like a playground with walls,” Durant said back then. “That’s pure. I like that.”
He, of course, alluded to NYC’s famed Rucker Park. Durant has some exciting history in that particular court, and having him in MSG would be pretty awesome.
This can also make sense for a rebuilding Nets organization. The Knicks have a boatload of draft picks and the kitchen sink that they can throw at Brooklyn in a possible Kevin Durant trade. That would make sense for Brooklyn if they really go all-in on a ground-up rebuild, which they should.
If the Nets go through with this and move forward with a large draft capital reserve from a squad constructed around an aging Durant, that’s a win already.
2. Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers would be an interesting destination for Kevin Durant. He would return to the Pacific Northwest, where he actually started his career (with Seattle).
And then imagine him pairing up with Damian Lillard. Wow, right? That would be even better than a Beal-KD tandem. Dame is arguably better than Kyrie, and he’s certainly not a contrarian of the court, too.
Would Portland have to give up a lot in a Kevin Durant trade? Absolutely. Off the top of our heads, a reasonable package would likely include rookie Shaedon Sharpe, Josh Hart, and Jerami Grant. That’s a hefty price tag, but it justifies KD’s current value. Heck, they might also have to throw in Jusuf Nurkic, but that would still be a net positive for the Blazers.
The Blazers also get to keep their picks, which would bode well for their own future.
Sure, both Dame and KD are in their 30s, but a pairing of this magnitude would have the potential to win now and next season. For a franchise like Portland, that’s worth the roll of the dice.
1. Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies had previously shown interest in a Kevin Durant trade. However, they were hesitant to include Desmond Bane or Jaren Jackson Jr. in any deal. Jackson Jr. has undergone surgery for a stress fracture in his foot, though. That means Memphis should return to this potential deal.
Jackson Jr. missed 11 games in the 2020-2021 season due to a meniscus tear after competing in 78 games the previous season. When healthy, is a defensive game-changer and a potentially great pairing with Nic Claxton up front. Jackson even led the NBA with 2.3 blocks per game last season. But they would do well to ship him out because he can’t help the Grizzlies much for the next couple of months.
The Nets would also benefit from this trade since JJJ would be a very good building block for the future. Now, the Grizzlies obviously need to add more than simply Jackson Jr. They can also consider including Brandon Clarke, Dillon Brooks, and a number of picks. That should do the trick for a Nets squad looking to rebuild.
The reality is the Grizzlies have a shot at making even more noise this season than they did last year. A tandem of Ja Morant and KD along with Desmond Bane would be absolutely amazing. And with defending NBA champions Golden State stumbling in the West, Memphis should smell blood in the water.