PHOENIX SUNS

Suns owner Mat Ishbia: ‘Phoenix loves Kevin Durant’ and vice versa

Jun 26, 2024, 1:35 PM | Updated: 1:45 pm

Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia on Wednesday responded to recent reports that the franchise was looking to move on from forward Kevin Durant.

“NBA Draft night is the best. Everyone talking about the drama and storylines, some are right and some are just wrong,” Ishbia posted on X.

“My turn. Phoenix loves Kevin Durant and Kevin Durant loves Phoenix, and we are competing for a championship this year because we have the team to do it. Gotta love draft night! Go Suns.”

Ishbia’s comments come after ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported that the Suns want to move on from Durant “right now.”

“Pay no attention to what Phoenix is saying,” Smith said Wednesday while on First Take. “They want out of Kevin Durant right now. … Houston doesn’t want Kevin Durant, (Rockets head coach) Ime Udoka may want him, but organizationally they know that they are not there yet.

“Their plans are more long range and they would prefer a Devin Booker, who they know is a slim chance they get, but that would be their preference.”

Even before Smith’s remarks, Durant found himself at the center of trade chatter just a day prior.

Late Tuesday night, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Houston’s trade with the Brooklyn Nets centering around Phoenix’s future first-round picks make a Durant deal between the two sides “far easier.”

Wojnarowski added that the Suns have said they’re keeping Durant for now, though “that could change next season.”

The NBA insider also said that while the Rockets are intrigued with bringing Durant aboard, Houston “is determined to use the Suns picks to be aggressive on deals elsewhere now.”

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, however, reported Wednesday morning that the Rockets would rather have Durant now as opposed to down the road.

Windhorst added that if Houston takes a center at No. 3 overall in the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft, “that would potentially enable them to make Alperen Sengun, their very talented young Turkish center, available in that type of trade to dangle in front of the Suns.”

The latest Durant back-and-forth comes after the Nets reportedly traded away former Suns forward Mikal Bridges to the Knicks in exchange for Bojan Bogdanovic, four unprotected first-round picks, a protected first-round pick via Milwaukee, an unprotected pick swap and a second-rounder.

The Nets then turned around and worked out a trade with the Rockets centered around draft capital. After the deal, Houston now owns a 2025 pick swap with the Suns, plus Phoenix’s 2027 unprotected first-round pick. The Rockets could also land Phoenix’s 2029 first-rounder in certain outcomes.

Across two seasons (83 games) with the Suns, Durant averaged 27 points on 52.7% shooting and 42.4% from three-point land. He added 6.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.2 blocks in 37.2 minutes per game.

Durant has two more years left on his contract. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent in 2026.

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