Despite the way their tenure with the Brooklyn Nets ended, future Hall of Famers Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving appear to have still had interest in playing together as early as this summer, as SNY insider Ian Begley reports that the Phoenix Suns were among the teams to pursue a sign-and-trade with the Dallas Mavericks in attempt to acquire Irving earlier this offseason.

“Dallas, presumably, wasn’t interested in what the Suns offered at the time,” Begley's adds. “If the Mavs were blown away by the offer, logic says that Irving would be a Sun today.”

Irving and Durant are connected not just by their shared history as NBA stars but by their attitude toward the media in recent years. Both players, feeling maligned by narratives that cast them in a less than flattering light, have thus found themselves less popular among NBA fan bases than they would likely prefer to be.

Nonetheless, as two of the most skilled offensive players in NBA history, the Suns — like the Nets — were wise to explore the possibility of having the two team up. Though Irving is a score-first player, All-Star guard Devin Booker has long demonstrated a pronounced ability to be the primary playmaker, assuaging concerns about their potential fit.

Defensively, there would be questions about how effective the trio would look over the course of the season. Nonetheless, with the right pieces around them, the Suns could have looked like the team to beat out West.

A similar situation as the one they find themselves with Bradley Beal after agreeing to acquire the star guard from the Washington Wizards.