The eyes of the NBA world are all focused on Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets at the moment and will be for some time until there is some sort of resolution to their current situation.
As of now, Kevin Durant has asked for a trade out of Brooklyn and it is expected that Kyrie Irving is likely on his way as well, effectively ending the Big 3 era. However, like everything involving the Nets this past year, there could be more to the story than meets the eye and there remains some speculation that the two superstars could still return for next season.
To say Sean Marks has his work cut out for him would be an understatement regardless of the scenario that ends up coming to fruition. If Durant does indeed get dealt, it will fall on the Nets front office to maximize the return in order to keep the franchise afloat while they retool to become contenders once again.
By now everyone knows that the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat are among Durant’s top destinations to go to, but what do those organizations have that would entice Marks to send his organization’s best player there. Or for that matter, what other teams have the pieces to get a deal done with the Nets.
Durant wants to go to a contender and play alongside another star, but the Nets technically hold all the leverage here.
North of the Border
We’ll save the more obvious destinations for last, but chatter has seemingly picked up around the possibility of Durant being dealt to the Toronto Raptors. What the Raptors could offer Brooklyn may fit the return that Sean Marks is looking for. The one hiccup is now the stance that Toronto will not be parting with rookie of the year Scottie Barns under any circumstances.
That would put Pascal Siakam, an All-NBA player, as one of the big pieces going to the Nets in any sort of trade for the NBA superstar. OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr. could also be included in a deal along with a number of future first-round picks. Siakam fits the bill of a very strong player, but the Nets are looking for a star player to be involved in any deal for Durant and a new report from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst suggested that the Nets were prioritizing players over picks in the deal.
It’s tough to say that the package would entice Marks enough, but the Raptors could still have something up their leave to make a deal work if they really wanted to.
Kevin Durant and The Big Easy
NOLA may still be a bit under the radar, but it seems they could have the piece to help move the needle in a Kevin Durant trade. While Durant, and Kyrie Irving, may be trying to project that they have the leverage in the current situation the reality is the Nets have a bit more power. That is important to know when it comes to the idea of the New Orleans Pelicans making a play for the 12-time NBA All-Star.
The Pelicans have a slew of draft picks that they could offer the Nets and a player like Brandon Ingram in a deal. Ingram has averaged 23.4 points a game over his past three seasons in New Orleans and would be a solid piece in a post-KD world in Brooklyn. Where the Pelicans may hesitate is that if Durant can’t be sold on their vision going forward it could create problems for them down the road.
Welcome to Miami
This is one of the top spots that Durant wants to go to next season, South Beach. The deal can be a little complicated for two reasons, the first being that KD wants to go somewhere and play with another star so that eliminates Jimmy Butler from being involved in a deal because Durant would want to play alongside him. Second, Ben Adebayo wouldn’t be able to be part of any deal since teams can’t have two designated rookie contracts at the same time.
What Miami does have is a slew of talented players that could pique Marks’ interest and help facilitate a more timely rebuild in Brooklyn. Tyler Herro, Nikola Jovic, Duncan Robinson, Kyle Lowry, Max Strus, Omer Yurtseven and a number of draft picks could all be packaged in a deal for Durant.
With Marks reportedly favoring players over picks, this could fit those criteria, but the lack of a real star in return could create some hesitation.