The sweepstakes for Kevin Durant are well and truly open for NBA teams. The Nets star asked for a trade from the franchise officially on the first day of free agency. Ever since that news hit the league, teams have been lining up and sending their offers. In turn, the Nets are apparently looking for a very big haul of picks and players for the services of Durant. One of the teams that could be in for Durant is the Los Angeles Clippers. Despite their efforts of winning a championship for the first time in franchise history falling through, they are still doing everything in their power to do it. Without further ado, here is the perfect trade the Clippers must offer the Nets for Kevin Durant.
Perfect Clippers Offer for Nets' Kevin Durant
Clippers get Kevin Durant; Nets get Paul George, 2027 and 2029 first-round picks, 2028 pick swap
Now, this would mean that the Clippers do not outright own their first-round selection until 2030, which is eight years from now. In that time, the Oklahoma City Thunder will basically own their first-rounders until 2026, when, according to this trade, the Nets take over. It might seem harsh on the Clippers, but the idea of the owner Steve Ballmer is to remain competitive throughout this period, so the picks really do not hold a lot of weight. While the reports say that this amount of picks is too small for the Nets to move Durant, there is an All-Star in Paul George also involved. Thus, the needle could be moved for the Nets even without a much higher number of future draft selections. Let's look at why both sides are doing this deal.
For the Nets, this is a chance for them to remain competitive and also get some assets for the future. There is every chance that the Clippers either blow up or their stars start falling off by the time these picks involved in the trade become super valuable. Additionally, due to the Paul George deal with the Thunder, the Clippers cannot rely on the draft to get better, so it could work out for the Nets in the end. When it comes to right now, George will not be as valuable as Durant, but he is still one of the best two-way players in the league. With Ben Simmons there, the Nets could build a defensive powerhouse and while they likely will not contend for a championship, they will be a playoff team in the Eastern Conference.
For the Clippers, this is a massive move that comes with risk, but it also comes with a reward. Firstly, they get Kevin Durant and with all due respect to Kawhi Leonard, Durant is a bigger superstar. His resume is arguably better than Leonard's and he is also coming off of a played season, while Leonard missed the entirety of last year with a torn ACL. In theory, Leonard and KD should work ideally together, as Durant can be the offensive leader that still plays great defense, while Leonard can hold the line defensively and hit shots within the offense when needed. Durant can also handle the rock and become the primary playmaker for the team.
Now, the risk is that all of these assets going the way of other teams, the Thunder and the Nets, could cripple the options of the Clippers in the future. However, as long as they do not sign some egregious deal with an aging superstar that really messes up their financial outlook, the Clippers should be fine. They will be able to count on superstars arriving in free agency, as they now move to a new arena and really build up their LA story independent of the Los Angeles Lakers. With an eccentric, but committed owner in Steve Ballmer, the Clippers will remain relevant for an extended period of time, so giving away picks, especially for players like George and Durant, is completely fine and should even be praised, when it comes to the Clippers front office.
In the simplest terms possible, the Clippers need to pull this trade because the George-Leonard duo hasn't worked out yet. Injuries played their part, but it still hasn't gone to plan. Durant is more available, he is a talented scorer, and he should not fall off in the coming years. The price might be steep, both in assets and in salary to be paid over the next four years, but it is worth it. The Clippers must be on the phone with the Nets right away to figure out a way for this deal to happen.