Simply once you thought the 2022 free company interval was going to be an Ambien capsule, the Brooklyn Nets cleaning soap opera returned to inject an adrenaline needle to the vein.
Simply three days after Kyrie Irving defused his personal ticking time bomb by opting to stay a Web, Kevin Durant selected to clean his personal exit path. The newest Nets cleaning soap opera episode started Thursday with an earthly throwaway storyline wherein the Nets acquired Utah Jazz defensive stopper Royce O’Neal. Nonetheless, in keeping with The Athletic’s Shams Charania and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets are within the technique of acquiescing a commerce demand Durant made to proprietor Joseph Tsai.
The information shook the earth simply days after Kyrie Irving determined to opt-in and decide to the Nets for another season. Looking back, the vow to satisfy his four-year dedication to the Nets might have been a passive-aggressive elbow in Durant’s path.
When Durant selected to hyperlink up with Irving in Brooklyn, Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck revealed a column that defined Durant’s resolution.
“Durant had grown weary of the perpetual drama in Golden State, even whereas main the Warriors to 2 straight championships. What some discovered refreshing in regards to the Warriors — their huge personalities, their outspokenness on each on- and off-court points — Durant discovered distracting. He needed a workforce that positioned basketball above all else.”
The optimistic outlook again then was that Irving and Durant’s real friendship would mood their harmful tendencies. Any realist understood this was at all times the way it was going to finish for these two. As soon as they had been on the courtroom collectively, sparks flew. In 2021, they carried out one of the environment friendly offenses in NBA historical past.
However off the courtroom, they repeatedly got here dangerously near detonating. Irving’s deal with basketball was at all times tenuous. One second, his focus was solely on basketball and the subsequent, he was burned out, taking two-week sabbaticals, taking a inflexible stance in opposition to the COVID vaccine even when it meant leaving his teammates on the hook. The shocker is that Durant was the one who pulled the pin on the Nets grenade.
When Durant is traded, will probably be his fourth workforce in six years. So the place will Durant’s travels take him subsequent? The panorama being so fertile for Durant makes that troublesome to pin down, though Yahoo Sports activities’ Chris Haynes has reported that Durant’s most well-liked vacation spot can be the Phoenix Suns.
Durant’s curiosity makes restricted free agent Deandre Ayton a chief sign-and-trade candidate. Phoenix wanted a lifeline this offseason. Their reluctance to signal Ayton to a five-year $177 million extension or match the four-year $131 million contract that different groups can signal him to place them in a difficult place. Given their tight championship window, Phoenix would do no matter it takes to fit Durant between Devin Booker, perimeter defensive pincer Mikal Bridges and Chris Paul as quickly as doable. The Nets might demand Bridges as a sacrifice, but it surely’s one the Suns would make in a sizzling second.
The Portland Path Blazers have been lobbying onerous for Durant. Don’t be stunned if Mayor Ted Wheeler hosts a stay press convention to woo KD to their title-starved hoops-obsessed metropolis. Portland has the perfect method of picks and younger expertise to sacrifice to the Altar of Durant whereas sustaining a roster deep sufficient to contend. They may throw a number of firsts, Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe in Brooklyn’s path and each groups might be content material. The Blazers may struggle to maintain Simons, but when it turns into a dealbreaker, his luggage will probably be packed for him.
The Lakers is sensible on paper. Durant becoming a member of LeBron can be the last word mashup. For years, they duked it out because the top-2 gamers within the league. They’ve each stumbled from their peaks, however their apex is so excessive, that they’re nonetheless persistently top-five gamers once they’re at their worst. From the Brooklyn Nets’ angle, Anthony Davis, 29, might have sufficient juice left in his tank to be an All-NBA huge for an additional 5 years. His porcelain bones will at all times be a priority however when he’s wholesome, he’s an elite, two-way velociraptor.
Miami acquired the chilly shoulder from Jalen Brunson right this moment after he signed a four-year $110M deal with the Knicks, however re-inserted themselves into the Durant discussions.
Nonetheless, the Warmth don’t personal a first-spherical choose till 2024 and might’t quit consecutive firsts due to The Stepien Rule, which prevents groups from being with out first-round picks in consecutive drafts. For Brooklyn to give up a participant of Durant’s caliber they’d possible ask for Bam Adebayo. The Nets can be precluded from swapping Durant for Adebayo due to an obscure rule that stops groups from having two gamers who had been acquired by way of trades whereas they’re on Designated Rookie Extension contracts. After buying and selling for Ben Simmons on the commerce deadline, the one approach Adebayo might wind up on the Nets is that if Simmons had been traded. That’s not outdoors the realm of prospects, however unlikely as a result of his commerce inventory is within the basement.
But, the place there’s a will there’s a approach. NBA execs have written the guide on twisting via company loopholes, however simply because they will doesn’t imply they need to.
Two point-centers as the point of interest of the Nets lineup for the subsequent few years is as problematic as Embiid and Simmons plodding via the push hour visitors within the paint. Nonetheless, a three-team commerce wherein Durant is whisked off to Miami, Bam shipped to a different workforce, who traded their celebrity to Brooklyn can be amenable to Miami and Brooklyn. Discovering that third workforce is less complicated stated than done.
The Nets can have a pile of choices to evaluation. In the end, wherever Durant finally ends up will upend the league.