Now that the Brooklyn Nets have granted Kyrie Irving’s trade request, it leaves the entire organization’s future in question. The same goes for Kevin Durant, who had intentions of winning an NBA title with Irving in Brooklyn. Now as the former NBA MVP remains the lone superstar in town, it’s anyone’s guess what the 34-year-old hooper’s desires are.
He may very well be the next to request a trade, which, being that the NBA’s Feb. 9 deadline is fast approaching, the Nets wouldn’t have much time to strike a deal. Yet, Durant has long been mentioned in trade rumors, meaning teams have likely already held preliminary discussions, which could make an agreement easier to reach on short notice.
With rumors that the Phoenix Suns are already circling the waters regarding a potential Durant trade, we worked up seven potential scenarios for the 13-time All-Star ahead of the NBA trade deadline.
Oklahoma City Thunder land Durant, again
Oklahoma City Thunder get: Kevin Durant
Brooklyn Nets get: Lu Dort, Aleksej Pokusevski, Jalen Williams, Ousmane Dieng, Darius Bazley, David Nwaba, 2023 first-round pick, two 2024 first-round picks (via HOU, LAC)
Chances are, Durant will want to land in a situation that allows him to pursue what could be his third NBA Championship. Yet, Durant could also want to bring the Oklahoma City Thunder back to glory after spending the first nine seasons of his NBA career with the former Seattle franchise.
The Thunder are already ahead of their expected pace, competing for a playoff spot thanks to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s excellence, yet they’re still a few years away from being true contenders. While many pieces of their core may very well be on the roster already, it also places the Thunder in a prime position to swing for the fences, accelerating their competitive timeline.
It’s unknown what the Nets may be seeking in a potential Kevin Durant trade, if he’s even available at all, but chances are Brooklyn will want a mix of young talent and future draft picks. If so, the Thunder may be able to present one of the best packages available.
In this scenario, the Nets land the 23-year-old Dort, who’s proven to be a tough-nosed 3-and-D specialist averaging 14.1 PPG. Plus, Poku, who’s a legit 7-footer with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, and being that he’s just 21, is still at least a few years away from his prime, yet already is a three-year vet. The Serbian is a skilled big who could even become the face of the franchise with a bit more seasoning as he fills out his frame.
Both Ousmane Dieng (19) and Jalen Williams (21) are rookies, selected 11th and 12th overall in the 2022 NBA Draft, respectively. Williams has already cracked the starting lineup and is averaging 11.8 points per game, chipping in 1.1 steals per contest. That’s already three rotation players, plus Dieng, who could develop into one.
Darius Bazley’s contract is expiring, but he too has flashed the potential that helped him become the 23rd overall pick in 2019. Still just 22, the bouncy power forward is worth a gamble in the late stretch of the season, and the three future firsts give general manager Sean Marks a chance to put his own stamp on the roster, post-Irving and Durant. The Nets may not receive a better overall offer than what the Thunder can present.
Portland Trail Blazers pair Damian Lillard with KD
Portland Trail Blazers get: Kevin Durant
Brooklyn Nets get: Anfernee Simons, Shaedon Sharpe, Jerami Grant, 2025 & 2028 first-round picks
One team under a lot of pressure not only to prove to their fanbase they are true contenders but also to show Damian Lillard they’re not afraid to chase the big fish, the current Portland Trail Blazers feel like a stagnant group that won’t come close to getting back to the Western Conference Finals in 2023.
It also feels like a group that’s running out of time, as Lillard is set to turn 33 later this summer and has yet to reach the NBA Finals. While it’s far too early to project what young talents like Shaedon Sharpe can be once they’re fully developed, the Blazers have to ask themselves if they think their roster will push them over the top in the next few years as is.