Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant has requested a trade, according to multiple reports. News of his request came hours before the start of NBA free agency and just days after fellow Brooklyn star Kyrie Irving signed on for his contract for the 2022-23 season.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, Durant’s favorite destination is the Phoenix Suns, while Wojnarowski adds that the Miami Heat (and Suns) are among the teams on Durant’s wish list. The Associated Press reports that the Nets have worked with Durant to find a business partner, and he has several teams on his favorite list.
Kevin Durant has Phoenix Suns listed as favorite trade destination, league sources say @YahooSports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 30, 2022
Phoenix and Miami are on two of the teams Kevin Durant has on his wishlist, sources tell ESPN, but the Nets plan to move Durant where they can get the best possible deal. With four years on the contract, there’s no shortage of teams ready to offload assets for Durant.
— Adrien Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2022
BREAKING: AP source says Kevin Durant asked Brooklyn Nets for trade.https://t.co/VtdtlOXVwO
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) June 30, 2022
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 30, 2022
Nets general manager Sean Marks is working with Durant and his agent, Rich Kleiman, on the trades, Wojnarowski reports. However, Wojnarowski also reports that the Nets are looking for a trade that gives them the best return on assets and have reportedly been approached by half of NBA teams as to what it would take to acquire Durant.
Durant joined the Nets via a sign-and-trade deal in the summer of 2019 and signed a contract extension with the team last offseason. He is under contract until the 2025-26 season. Last season, he averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game in 55 games – his best since the 2018-19 season – en route to earning second-team honors. All NBA.
Durant is a 12-time All-Star, four-time scoring champion, three-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time NBA champion. He also has four years and nearly $200 million left on his contract, meaning it may take multiple players, draft picks, or possibly both for a team to acquire him.
Durant spent three seasons with Brooklyn, not playing the first of those years as he recovered from a torn Achilles. Last summer, he helped the United States win Olympic gold at the Tokyo Games.
In another move reported Thursday, the Nets agreed to trade their 2023 first-round pick from the Utah Jazz for 3-and-D specialist Royce O’Neale. Additionally, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the nets are does not plan to move Ben Simmons this offseason as a result of trade demand from Durant.
The Nets came back last season thinking about the title with their core of Irving, Durant and James Harden. It didn’t work as expected. Irving wasn’t with the team for most of the season, Harden ended up being traded to Philadelphia, the Nets had to survive the Play-In tournament just to make the playoffs, and Brooklyn ended up being swept in the first round by the eventual Eastern Conference champions, the Boston Celtics.
Durant and Irving are close friends who came to the Nets together in July 2019. Durant signed his own extension last summer, but if Irving hadn’t stayed with the franchise next season, it certainly could have led Durant to ponder his own future in Brooklyn.
Irving had until Wednesday to notify the Nets of his decision to join. It wraps up a piece of the ongoing saga regarding Irving’s future, which has been one of the biggest storylines as the league prepares for the start of free agency.
However, it may not be over. Irving could still see his contract extended before the start of free agency. Plus, the Nets could still trade him — and in fact, teams might be more interested in a deal now that Irving is on an expiring contract.
The Nets’ tumultuous season saw Irving miss 53 games because he was unvaccinated, with 3-point shooter Joe Harris needing multiple surgeries on his injured ankle and Simmons unable to play after arriving.
With Durant, Irving and Harden, the Nets expected to be the last team standing, but instead were the first team to pack their bags.
After exiting the playoffs, the Nets recognized that all of their off-court distractions were holding them back from becoming a great team.
“We had our expectations. Everyone had expectations for us,” Durant said in April. “A lot of things happened throughout the season that derailed us, but I’m proud of how we kept fighting and keeping the faith and every day we were trying to work towards something. “
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.