The Spurs got three first-round picks for Dejonte Murray, and the Jazz topped that number by actually returning five for Rudy Gobert, setting the bar for Kevin Durant. The Nets are demanding Elon Musk’s fortune in exchange for their star who demanded a trade and they could get it.
No, make sure they get it. A royal ransom for Durant would be general manager Sean Marks’ only chance to salvage the catastrophic situation, to make it a retooling on the fly rather than a long and arduous rebuild.
This situation has effectively frozen most of the league, including the Nets, as far as deciding what they will do with Kyrie Irving. It remains to be seen where the Nets will send Durant or how much they’ll get for him. The Jazz bear is waiting for a response both as a template for the picks the Nets could get and as a potential three-way trading partner.
The Nets are believed to be looking for a young All-Star as the centerpiece of a deal, as well as a host of picks. ESPN reported that not only were more than half of the teams in the league calling the Marks with offers, but some even went back to increase their offers before even getting a counteroffer. It is an unusual circumstance, but the whole situation is an unusual circumstance.
Players like Durant are usually unavailable. Durant asked to leave Brooklyn not only because of the Irving melodrama, but also reportedly because he didn’t see enough infrastructure and leadership in the franchise, Yahoo’s Chris Haynes told NBATV. But wanting to go out and going where he wants to go are two different things.
Durant has four years left on his contract and, shockingly, has no player choice or no trade clause. It’s already reduced his influence when choosing a landing spot, and the volume of offers the Nets are receiving will reduce it even further. They will most likely accept one of these offers before deciding where to trade Irving and his expiring contract.
While the Nets would clearly work with Durant and his business partner Rich Kleiman to find a suitable location, Marks proved to be unsentimental and would end up accepting the offer that best suited the organization.
The easiest and cleanest move might be New Orleans (around Brandon Ingram and the picks) or Toronto (around rookie of the year Scotty Barnes and the picks). Raptors boss Masai Ujiri traded for Kawhi Leonard in 2018 and won the title the following season. What would he give for four years of Durant?
There are clear issues with Durant’s favorite teams, the Suns and Heat, which could force the trade to expand to bring in one or two other teams. This is no stranger to Marks, who pulled off an NBA-record five-team mega-deal.
The Nets can’t bring back the Heat’s top piece, center Bam Adebayo. The collective bargaining agreement won’t let them trade a player for a designated rookie like Adebayo because they already have Ben Simmons on such a deal. (Remember this CBA quirk. It will reappear. And again.)
According to The Athletic, Durant only wants to play for Miami if he plays alongside Adebayo, Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowery.
The Nets can’t get Devin Booker back from the Suns and are not believed to be thrilled about taking Phoenix restricted free agent center Deandre Ayton in exchange for a signing and trade. But Arizona Sports 98.7 FM reported that Utah was looking into trading Ayton to replace Gobert. Phoenix could then redirect the incoming picks along with their own and forwards Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson.
But the Jazz could be relevant in a different way, too, thanks to superstar quarterback Donovan Mitchell.
After the Utah let go of Mitchell’s longtime pal Eric Paschall, the Nets traded for his friend Royce O’Neal and the Jazz traded Gobert, signaling they were recovering. This may prompt Mitchell to ask for a trade. If that happens, it could prompt the Nets to walk away from Simmons to make any three-way deal possible for Mitchell.
The market for Irving is tepid at best. And since any deal for Durant is likely to be more difficult and certainly more important, the Nets intend to sort this out first before sending Irving to the Lakers or elsewhere.
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