Phoenix Suns acquire Kevin Durant from Brooklyn Nets
Feb 8, 2023, 11:21 PM | Updated: Feb 9, 2023, 4:34 pm
The Phoenix Suns are acquiring forward Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets in a trade revolving around small forwards Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson, the team announced Thursday.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania was the first to report the news.
In addition to Bridges and Johnson, forward Jae Crowder, four unprotected first-round picks (2023, 2025, 2027, 2029) and a 2028 pick swap are headed to Brooklyn. The Nets will also send back forward T.J. Warren.
With Durant, Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, the Suns have a case as the new favorites for the NBA championship.
Durant, 34, is on the shortlist of basketball players who have an argument as the best in the world. He’s a 13-time All-Star, one-time league MVP, four-time scoring champ, 10-time All-NBA member, two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP.
He is in his fourth season with the Nets, the first of which he spent out due to a torn Achilles.
Despite that normally debilitating injury, Durant looked like the best version of himself the following year and last season averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and a career-high 6.4 assists per game while shooting a ridiculous 51.8% from the field.
This year he is posting 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per contest in 39 games.
Durant signed an extension in the summer of 2021 that keeps him under contract through the 2025-26 season. He requested a trade on June 30, 2022, unhappy with the direction of the Nets under then-head coach Steve Nash.
His age, contract length and a hot trade market elsewhere in the NBA made moving Durant in the offseason incredibly difficult.
Teammate Kyrie Irving opted into the final year on his contract during the summer, and Durant ultimately rescinded his trade request following talks with Brooklyn.
Irving requesting a trade last week that set in motion a reconsideration on Durant’s and the team’s part.
Brooklyn traded Irving to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and three picks. Though reports said the Nets and Durant were speaking about the direction of the franchise, Brooklyn initially did not appear intent on opening trade discussions for Durant.
That obviously changed.
Phoenix had been active leading into the deadline beyond the expectation it would trade Crowder, who’s not joined the team this year.
The team was reportedly in the Irving sweeptakes, offering Crowder and Chris Paul, plus a pick, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The question is whether the Suns’ aggression would increase under new owner Mat Ishbia by looking to make a splash. That is now answered.
The Suns will certainly have to accept losing a bevy of picks and players to land Durant.
Durant will make $43 million by the end of this year, and the contract escalates to $53.2 million by 2025-26.
Durant was originally the No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Seattle SuperSonics.
He spent his rookie year in Seattle before the franchise moved to Oklahoma City, where Durant played for the next eight seasons. He wound up coming short in the pursuit of his first championship, only making the NBA Finals once alongside Russell Westbrook.
In the summer of 2016, Durant shockingly signed in free agency with the Golden State Warriors, a team coming off a league-record 73-9 season and a title two years prior. Durant won back-to-back championships with the Warriors in his first two years before Golden State came up short against the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals when Durant was out injured.