Well it is official. The Brooklyn Nets grand experiment has mercifully come to an end. The Nets have agreed to a trade sending Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns just days after dealing Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks.
The Suns are sending Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, four first-round picks and a 2028 pick swap for to the Nets for Durant and T.J. Warren. The four first-round picks will be unprotected for the following years: 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029.
Suns Out, Guns Out
There is little information currently on how many potential suitors were in on Durant but the Nets viewed moving him as a matter of expediency likely after discussions with his camp following the Irving deal.
The Suns were one of Durant’s desired locations in the off-season when he requested to be traded unsuccessfully. The Suns will now field a lineup featuring Durant, Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton.
This certainly makes the Suns serious contenders again in a Western Conference that has no clear-cut favorite as of yet. The Suns find themselves in a tremendous spot going into the second half of the season, presently the fifth seed in the West with a whole lot of basketball left to be played.
Cut The Nets
The Nets saw the writing on the wall. The team likely knew after feeling out the landscape of the league that they couldn’t contend in the Eastern Conference and had to cut its losses after fulfilling the Irving trade request. The Durant, Irving and James Harden trio will be one of the greatest and disappointing what if’s in NBA history after failing to meet championship expectations.
The fire sale will potentially continue with Joe Harris’ expiring contract, an aging Patty Mills, sharpshooter Seth Curry and Crowder who will likely be dealt again before the deadline to a contender at the right price.
The Nets will need to decide on how to proceed with Ben Simmons as well. Simmons has been heavily underperforming based on the financial commitment made to him and there isn’t much trade interest around the league for him. The organization will likely have to give him heavier minutes to build up his value again either to contribute to the team or work on a trade suitor in the offseason.
The Nets will look to build around a young core of Bridges, Johnson, Cam Thomas and Nic Claxton as well as important veteran pieces like Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith who were both acquired recently from the Mavericks as a result of the Irving deal.
The circumstances may also push the Nets into the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes depending on how hard they tumble in the standings after clearing house.
Time will tell the impact and implications of this trade long-term but for now the Suns have given themselves a chance at contending for a NBA championship and the Nets are in the middle of a full-fledged rebuild seemingly overnight
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