Five Intriguing Trade Destinations for Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant Trade Destinations

It appears that the NBA off-season is determined to go scorched-earth every year. What looked to be a fairly bland off-season just a few weeks ago, has turned into one of the more compelling NBA summers in recent memory.

With the news that the Brooklyn Nets have granted Kyrie Irving the ability to look for a sign-and-trade partner, the Durant-Irving era seems to be over in Brooklyn. Even if the Nets are able to move Irving in a sign-and-trade, it’s hard to see a scenario where the Nets get a piece(s) back that will help them contend for a championship next season.

Now that’s a pretty big domino that has to fall, but with all the uncertainty around the situation, rumors have emerged that Kevin Durant could request a trade if the Irving situation isn’t resolved in a way that could help Durant contend for his third championship.

It remains to be seen how valid the Durant rumor is, but in the meantime I went to wonderland and looked at some landing spots that would make an intriguing fit for the “Slim Reaper”.

Atlanta Hawks

It’s no secret that the Atlanta Hawks are desperate to pair an All-Star with Trae Young. After an underwhelming regular season and playoffs, the Hawks are ready to trade in some of their younger assets for a proven star.

If the Nets were to trade Durant, it’s likely that they would head towards a rebuild and the Hawks have the pieces to get that started. Power forward John Collins already seems to be the odd man out in Atlanta, Durant-trade or not. So a package built around Collins makes the most sense.

They would still need to add one or two younger players and a pair of first-round picks, but they have an arsenal of assets to make a compelling offer.

The Hawks’ depth could take a bit of a hit, but Young is in need of someone beside him that can take a fair share of the offensive load. The potential of an offense that is centered around Durant and Young may be too much for the Hawks to pass up, and if they want a chance to get back to the Eastern Conference finals, they can’t afford to.

Chicago Bulls

Kevin Durant Trade Destinations

Executive vice president of basketball operations Artūras Karnišovas has preached that he wants continuity with this Chicago Bulls team, but Durant could throw a wrench in those plans. Just a few years ago, an acquisition like this seemed impossible, but since Karnišovas and the rest of the Bulls’ front office took over, they’ve completely reshaped the franchise’s image.

With a “win now” attitude, the Bulls have shown the league and its players that they’ll do whatever it takes to compete. And because of that, it’s within the realm of possibility that Karnišovas makes a push for Durant.

The Bulls also have the added bonus of being in a big market and have a renowned history that could appeal to a basketball historian like Durant.

There’s a wide range of packages that the Bulls could offer for Durant, most of which contain some variation of Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball or Nikola Vučević. And depending on the offer, they may also have to include Patrick Williams, Coby White and future first-round picks.

At the end of the day, the Bulls would have to part with some integral pieces to last year’s success, but the franchise hasn’t had a player like Durant since a certain someone roamed the airspaces in the 90s.

Memphis Grizzlies

Kevin Durant Trade Destinations

Well I know just the thing that could spice up this Memphis Grizzlies-Golden State Warriors beef. With a Twitter back-and-forth between Ja Morant and Draymond Green that started after the NBA Finals concluded, what could be better than adding Durant to the mix?

We all know the history that Durant has with the Warriors and Green after the 2018-2019 season, but it seems like the two sides are on better terms of late. However, that fire could be rekindled if Durant made his way to Memphis.

Warriors feud aside, a combo of Durant and Morant would make for one of the more unique one-two punches in the league and could be the boost that the Grizzlies need to get over the hurdle.

The Grizzlies would have to give up center Jaren Jackson Jr. or guard Desmond Bane along with added salary and draft picks to sweeten the deal for Brooklyn, so Memphis might be reluctant to break up their young core that took the league by surprise this past year.
However, they may be inclined to take advantage of an opportunity of a lifetime.

Players of Durant’s caliber hardly ever become available, and for good reason. Trading for Durant would surely cost Memphis a lot of what they’ve grown in the past couple of years, but Memphis has never had an opportunity at a player like this since their inception.

Phoenix Suns

Kevin Durant Trade Destinations

If the Phoenix Suns are trying to erase the memory of their 33-point loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of the second round, trading for Durant would be a good start. Having a scoring duo of Devin Booker and Durant, while also having Chris Paul as the facilitator would have to put Phoenix in the top-4 of title contenders.

With the growing unlikeliness that center Deandre Ayton returns to Phoenix, the Suns could execute a sign-and-trade to land the 12-time All-Star.

As long as the Suns don’t let Ayton leave without getting anything in return, (which is unlikely because he’s a restricted free agent) they can make one of the more compelling packages for Durant.

With the Rockets owning a bulk of the Nets’ future picks, it’s not in Brooklyn’s best interest to bottom out of the league. Of course Ayton won’t help prevent that alone, but Ayton’s a caliber of player that most teams can’t or won’t offer.

If Ayton is dealt, that would leave the Suns without a center on their roster. Of course they could address the position in free agency, but let’s just say the list of free agent centers falls off a cliff fairly quickly. But again, you’re trading for one of the most gifted scorers of all-time, so I think the Suns will be content with finding a serviceable center instead of an All-Star caliber one.

Toronto Raptors

Kevin Durant Trade Destinations

Just like we saw in 2018 with the Kawhi Leonard trade, Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri is willing to make a swing-for-the-fences trade if one pops up on his radar.

However, this time the player he would be trading for has four years left on his contract instead of one. Durant is every teams’ dream player, but it’s especially true for the Raptors.

I’m fairly certain before the Raptors acquire a forward, they go through a list and there’s only three items they want checked off: can he play defense, is he over 6-foot-9 and can he shoot 35% or better from three? Since Durant practically created this list, he passes with flying colors even though his defense has tailed off a bit.

A trio of Durant, Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes would be like facing the Slender Man, but then finding out he was cloned twice. The defensive versatility and scoring upside that this group would possess would be too much for most teams to handle and could open up an abundance of sets on both sides of the ball for head coach Nick Nurse to scheme up.

The worst part about this for Raptors fans and Ujiri is that in all likelihood they would have to part with one of their biggest projects and successes: forward OG Anunoby. Toronto would likely have to give up a couple of draft assets and shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. as well, but in the end they would be getting a top-15 player of all-time.

 


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