Thursday, February 9, 2023

Nets trade Kevin Durant to Suns in blockbuster deal

The Brooklyn Nets have traded Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns for Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder and four unprotected future first-round picks, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The blockbuster deal of Durant and T.J. Warren for a haul of first-round draft picks (2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029) and a 2028 pick swap, was announced early Thursday morning just after 1 am -- well ahead of today's NBA trade deadline.

After three-plus seasons, two trade request over the past eight months and Kyrie Irving getting dealt to the Dallas Mavericks this past weekend, Durant is heading out west to the valley of the sun to join Chris Paul, Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton.

Durant, 34, signed with the Nets in the summer of 2019, along with Irving and less than two years later James Harden would also land in Brooklyn via a trade from the Houston Rockets. The Big-3 experiment ended with the trio only playing a combined of 16 games together (due to injuries, suspensions and COVID mandates), while winning one playoff series during the 2020-21 campaign.

Over the past 12 months, the Nets went from championship contenders to Harden demanded to be traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, Irving making his request to be moved last week and Durant now heading out the door as of late last night, just hours removed from the Suns new owner Mat Ishbia being introduced to the press.
"After thorough evaluation of the best path forward, we believe making this trade now positions the franchise for long-term success," Nets general manager Sean Marks said in a statement. "Mikal and Cam are elite, ascending, versatile wings, plus the draft capital provides us additional avenues to continue to acquire talent. We remain steadfast in our commitment to building the team Brooklyn deserves. We are excited to welcome Mikal, Cam and their families to Brooklyn and thank Kevin for the moments and memories he delivered our fanbase."
This move makes the Suns championship contenders once again in a competitive Western Conference after being two years removed from their last run to the NBA Finals, despite Durant being out over the past month with an MCL sprain. The All-Star forward is averaging 29.7 points on 55.5% shooting and 37.6% from deep, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 39 games played this season.

The Suns, who have never won an NBA title in its franchise's history, has two only two Finals appearances over the last 30 years (1992, 2021).

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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