In a blockbuster move, for some before midnight on Feb 8, 2023. Kevin Durant has been traded to the Phoenix Suns. A team that he has wanted to be to play for, for quite some time. Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the news:
The trade includes T.J. Warren heading to Phoenix along with Kevin Durant in exchange for Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Jae Crowder, four first-round picks and a 2028 pick swap.
For some time, Crowder was rumored to be headed to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Nets are sending him that way:
The Suns were on Durant’s short list of preferred destinations when he issued a trade demand last summer. Although Phoenix was among the teams that submitted offers to Brooklyn last summer no progress was made at that time. Eventually, Durant rescinded his trade request before training camp.
At age 34, Durant remains among the league’s best players, averaging 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game while lifting the Nets into a tight race for the best record in the East before suffering a sprained MCL in his right knee last month.
Durant still has three seasons remaining on the four-year extension he signed with the Nets in 2021, which led to speculation that the team didn’t feel any immediate pressure to trade him. Earlier reports, showed that Durant was not available. Though, those reports no longer matter.
Durant will find himself part of a new ‘Big Three’ when he does return. The big three consist of Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and himself. Matt Ishbia has been quick to make the suns a competitor since taking over as the owner. Ironically, there was a report earlier this week that the Suns offered Paul to Brooklyn in hopes of landing Kyrie Irving. With Durant and Irving both signing with the Nets in 2019, it looked as if they would be an instant competitor. However, that pairing has officially ended with both being traded a few days apart.
Even, with the addition of James Harden to build a big three, the squad was only able to win one playoff series together. The Nets no longer have elite talent on their roster, but Bridges and Johnson have both been valuable during their time in Phoenix, and they join a team that has managed to remain competitive even with Durant and Irving in and out of the lineup. Bridges, 26, is a strong defender and long-distance shooter and is under contract for three more years at a total of about $70MM. Johnson, also 26, is an elite three-point shooter who is headed for free agency this summer. The Nets can make him restricted with a qualifying offer worth around $8MM.
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