Kevin Durant overshadowed NBA free agency by requesting a trade from the Brooklyn Nets hours before teams and players were allowed to agree to deals on the open market. Durant is just starting a new four-year, $196 million max extension, but he’s already decided he’s done with Brooklyn after three star-crossed seasons and only one playoff series win.

Durant’s preferred destinations — the Phoenix Suns or Miami Heat — leaked shortly after his trade request. It quickly became apparent that a deal with Phoenix was more feasible, yet there’s been no real momentum on a trade with the Suns or anyone else more than a week since Durant initially told the Nets he wants to be dealt. Find every rumor on Durant’s trade request with our tracker.

It was widely speculated that the Durant trade would be one of the biggest in NBA history. He remains one of the very best players in the league ahead of his 34th birthday, and the fact that he’s signed long-term removes the risk typically associated with superstar trade demands. While almost every team in the league has reportedly checked in on Durant, the bidding war the Nets were hoping for has not transpired. At this point, it’s fair to wonder if Durant will be traded for less than Rudy Gobert — who went to the Minnesota Timberwolves for essentially five first round picks, a pick swap, and matching contracts that included Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley.

There’s been a suspicious lack of noise surrounding the KD negotiations since his trade request first broke, but we do know a few things:

The latest report from ESPN said the Suns are currently not offering the big package of draft picks that Brooklyn wants.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe said Phoenix is “by far No. 1 on (Durant’s) wishlist.” Here’s the trade Lowe proposed:

Suns get: Kevin Durant

Nets get: Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Dario Saric, 4 first round picks, 3 first round swaps.

Brian Windhorst then chimed in to say: “That trade makes sense from a value standpoint, but right now I don’t think the Suns are offering that. They’re not offering four picks and three swaps. Who else is offering four picks right now? Nobody.”

What’s really interesting is that Brooklyn doesn’t seem to want Suns restricted free agent Deandre Ayton in a potential deal. The Suns were criticized for not wanting to give Ayton a max contract before the season, but to this point no other team has wanted to max him out, either. The Indiana Pacers have max cap space with the completion of the Malcolm Brogdon trade to Boston, and loom as a potential suitor for Ayton on the open market.

Lowe saying that Phoenix is on top of Durant’s wishlist is the latest in a long line of reports KD really wants to play with Booker on the Suns.

The Suns can’t be too cautious in their pursuit of Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant wants to play with Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and the Suns. Phoenix wants Durant. But right now, Phoenix is daring the Nets to send KD anywhere else instead of offering their best possible package.

The Suns are historically not a major free agent destination. They historically have one of the worst ownership groups in the league. The fact that both Paul and Durant want to come to Phoenix to play with Booker says so much about the young guard’s standing in the league. But as negotiations play out, the Suns should be very, very careful they don’t let Durant get away.

The Suns made the 2021 NBA Finals before losing to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games. Phoenix won a league-high 64 games last year, but flamed out in the second round of the playoffs when the Dallas Mavericks pulled a shocking second-round upset. With Paul at 37 years old, Phoenix should be focusing on the present, not the future. They should be trying to win the championship for the first time in franchise history, not “win the trade” for Durant by refusing to include an extra first round pick or pick swap.

It only takes one team to rope Brooklyn into a deal for Durant that’s best for them. A package of Bridges, Johnson, and a ton of picks feels pretty underwhelming from the Nets’ side …. and Phoenix reportedly won’t even offer that. If Phoenix blows this, they’re suddenly staring at a season Paul is about to turn 38 years old, and Ayton is likely gone or back only on a one-year deal. How long would it take for Booker to grow frustrated if Phoenix takes a step back?

The Suns shouldn’t get too cute in their pursuit of KD — just get it done. Missing out on him altogether would be so much worse than “overpaying” for one of the 15 greatest players of all-time at the tail end of his prime with four more seasons under contract.



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