The NBA is in the era of superstar teams. The league is filled with all-star duos like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum in Boston, Joel Embiid and James Harden in Philadelphia, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in Los Angeles, and more.
However, more superstar teams are being formed in the West, as the latest blockbuster trades have seen the Nets blow up one of the most dynamic duos in the league. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have both been dealt in trades as their time in Brooklyn comes to an end.
The first trade, occurring on February 6, saw Kyrie Irving, along with Markief Morris, dealt to the Dallas Mavericks, after Irving requested a trade from Brooklyn on February 3. In return, Brooklyn received Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, an unprotected 1st rounder, and two 2nd rounders from Dallas.
With the departure of their superstars, Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith will both be immediate starters and the Nets have secured a number of future picks, which they were in dire need of. Conversely, the Mavericks came out of this trade with one of the best all-star duos in the league and strengthened their place as contenders in the West, currently sitting in 4th.
The more shocking trade, however, occurred a few days later when Kevin Durant was dealt to the Phoenix Suns late on Wednesday night. In the matter of days, the Nets have traded their two all-stars in a complete franchise remodel.
In addition to Kevin Durant, the Suns received T.J. Warren, while the Nets received Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, and four unprotected 1st round picks. In addition to the valuable picks received, Bridges will be an immediate starter, and Johnson and Crowder will provide value as role players. The Nets have turned the page on their superstar era and will begin rebuilding for the future.
This is an impressive move for the Suns, as they were able to hold onto each of their three stars in Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton. However, this was also a very risky move as they traded a lot of their future away. They currently sit at 5th place in the West and hope their new addition will help them climb up the ladder.
Why the Mavs Made a Risky Move
The Mavs future lies in the hands of their franchise player, Luka Doncic. The 5th year player has shown his extremely impressive skill and has asserted himself as one of the top players in the NBA. Despite making it to the playoffs the past three seasons they have been unable to reach that final step and make it to the Finals.
The Mavs certainly think that their championship odds are increasing after the addition of Irving, and for the sake of their future, they had better be right. After losing two starters and a number of draft picks, in addition to Irving’s contract expiring at the end of the season, the Mavs have a small window to capitalize on a championship.
Of course, Kyrie could always re-sign with the Mavericks in the offseason. However, based on his erratic behavior in the past, I wouldn’t be too sure of anything.
Why the Suns Made a Risky Move
The Suns are hungry for another Finals appearance and shot at the championship after their defeat in the 2021 NBA Finals. Impressively, they’ve been able to retain their three core stars while obtaining one of the best scorers in the league in Kevin Durant.
The idea of getting Kevin Durant is surely an exciting one for Suns fans, however, on paper, it does raise cause for concern. The first worry that it raises for Phoenix is the financial implication that it puts the franchise in.
The Suns were already paying $93 million a year to their three stars and were already $45 million over the cap space limit. With the addition of Kevin Durant, they will now be $52 million over the cap space limit, which raises questions as to how long they can afford to keep their four stars together on this team.
Perhaps an even greater question will arise if the Suns are unable to claim a championship in the next few years. Kevin Durant is now 34 years old and there is no guarantee that he will be able to sustain his level of play in a few years.
The Suns not only gave up a couple great, young players, but also a great portion of their future in their draft picks. This trade certainly falls into the high risk, high reward category.
Join our Discord to leave a question or comment regarding this article. We have sports fans talking betting all day — every day! JOIN THE DISCORD NOW AND QUALIFY FOR PRIZES & BETTING SWAG!