Report: Suns’ Kevin Durant trade lure includes Mikal Bridges, picks and maybe other teams

Aug 22, 2022, 8:16 AM
Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets heads for the net as Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns def...
Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets heads for the net as Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns defends at Barclays Center on November 27, 2021 in New York City. The Phoenix Suns defeated the Brooklyn Nets 113-107. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

It didn’t take long after June 30, when Kevin Durant initially requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, that the Phoenix Suns blipped on the radar.

That was because the Suns and Miami Heat were considered two preferred landing spots for Durant.

From there, we learned that then-free agent Deandre Ayton was not desired by the Nets, putting a big brake-pump on Phoenix’s chances of landing the star. Ayton wound up re-signing with the Suns as the Durant trade request went nowhere else.

From the Nets’ perspective, nowhere is where things stand more than a month-and-a-half later.

Attempting to uncover any new advancements in trade talks from Brooklyn’s side, The Athletic’s Shams Charania on Monday reported the most detailed extent of what the Suns have been discussing regarding a potential Durant trade. It might not be surprising, but Mikal Bridges along with a bevy of draft picks — and additional swaps — are what Phoenix has to work with.

Even though it was assumed Bridges was leading a potential trade package, Charania is the first to link Bridges to the deal. That Phoenix offer, though, has “not picked up any steam with the Nets.”

Maybe more importantly though, is Charania’s report that the Suns have remained active in their Durant pursuit despite limitations without including a player like Ayton.

With Deandre Ayton signed to a four-year maximum contract and unable to be moved until January, Phoenix has attempted over the past month to make creative proposals to Brooklyn, possibly via three- or four-team trades where an All-Star-caliber player goes to the Nets. But the Suns have yet to find a suitable deal — and that is largely why they appear to be behind Boston, Toronto and Miami in the Durant sweepstakes.

Memphis is the latest team to be linked with interest in Durant, but the Grizzlies, according to Charania, have not wanted to part wtih Jaren Jackson Jr. or Desmond Bane in any trade.

So if we’re going by the tiers laid out in Charania’s reporting, it’d look like Boston at the top with its ability to include All-Star Jaylen Brown in a trade. The Raptors and Heat are next — though Miami can’t include star big man Bam Adebayo unless Brooklyn trades away Ben Simmons. Then comes the Grizzlies and Suns.

According to Charania, the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans and Atlanta Hawks have offered trade packages to Brooklyn. All of those, apparently, have been relatively tepid offers.

This brings us back to the same point before this report.

Many teams covet a player of Durant’s caliber: the 33-year-old averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists on 52% shooting last year.

But his four-year contract, injury history and perceived indecisiveness about where he wants to play basketball make it hard on the Nets to find a suitable trade partner. Durant still looks well on his way to being with Brooklyn when training camps begin in a month, which will force his hand about whether to report to camp or make things distracting on the Nets.

That is, unless Brooklyn relents, accepting a very underwhelming trade package to move on.

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Report: Suns’ Kevin Durant trade lure includes Mikal Bridges, picks and maybe other teams