Kevin Durant’s wish from summer 2022 has officially been granted, as the Brooklyn Nets have reportedly traded the superstar to the Phoenix Suns. The 34-year-old joins Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton, making the 2021 Western Conference champions a serious threat to return to the NBA Finals.
ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported the move early Thursday morning (Feb. 9). The full trade details state KD and T.J. Warren head to Phoenix, meanwhile, the Nets receive a major haul in Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, four first-round draft picks, and a 2028 pick swap.
This comes just four days after the Nets sent Kyrie Irving and Markieff Morris to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, and future draft picks. These moves effectively end the “superteam” era in Brooklyn, which at one point saw Durant, Irving, and James Harden all on the same roster. Despite being a championship favorite for multiple seasons, injuries and off-the-court issues plagued the team before Harden eventually was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers.
This past summer, KD requested a trade and Phoenix was one of his top destinations. The Nets managed to keep him around and looked like a threat in the Eastern Conference for a period of time until the two-time NBA Finals MVP suffered an injury. Irving requested a trade on Friday (Feb. 4), which created a domino effect and reignited Durant’s interest in going elsewhere.
Kyrie was asked for his thoughts on Kevin Durant heading to Phoenix during his first Dallas Mavericks press conference and alluded to both of them being uneasy about their situations in Brooklyn. “I’m just praying for his happiness and praying for his wellbeing,” the 2016 NBA champion said.
“We had a lot of conversations throughout the year of what our futures were going to look like. There was still a level of uncertainty, but we just cared about seeing each other in places that we can thrive. Whether that be together or whether that be apart, there’s never been one moment where I felt like he’s been angry at me for the decisions I’ve made or I’ve been angry at him.” Irving later said that he’s glad the 13-time All-Star “got out of there.”
The Western Conference got even stronger this week, with the Phoenix Suns now boasting a “big four” and the Dallas Mavericks being led by two of the most dynamic scorers in the NBA in Luka Doncic and Irving. The Los Angeles Lakers also shipped Russell Westbrook to the Utah Jazz, and received D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt as part of a three-team trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Needless to say, things have gotten very interesting as the NBA trade deadline comes to a close. The All-Star Break is looming, meaning many teams will be tightening their ships in a push to gain advantageous playoff seeding.