Reports: Kevin Durant requests trade from Nets, Suns preferred choice
NBA superstar and two-time finals MVP Kevin Durant requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets Thursday and picked the Phoenix Suns as a preferred destination, Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Durant listed the Suns and the Miami Heat on his wish list but Brooklyn plans to move him to the highest bidder.
Durant will be 34 years old at the start of the 2022-23 season and he has four years left on his deal with a cap hit of $44.1 million next year, according to Spotrac.
He played 55 games last season due to injury but remained a lethal scorer at 29.9 points per contest. The 12-time All-Star hit 38.3% of his three-pointers and made Second Team All-NBA.
Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro reported that the Suns are shifting focus toward Durant but do not want to gut the roster.
Center Deandre Ayton is a restricted free agent and sign-and-trade candidate.
Ayton, who turns 24 in July, was a key factor all year for the Suns on both ends.
He averaged 17.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game this regular season, shooting a career-high 64.3%.
The Suns surprised many around the league by not coming to terms on a max contract extension with the 2018 NBA Draft’s first overall pick last summer.
Gambadoro reported that the Nets do not want Ayton in a trade, though.
Phoenix has other starter-caliber pieces like Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson plus expiring contracts including Jae Crowder, Dario Saric and Torrey Craig to add in a trade, along with all of their future first-round picks.
A third team may need to be brought in to make a deal work.
NBA free agency begins Thursday at 3 p.m.