Just when you thought the free agency period of 2022 was going to be an Ambien pill, the Brooklyn Nets soap returned to inject an adrenaline needle into the vein†
Only three to dawn after Kyrie Irving defused his own ticking time bomb by choosing to stay a netKevin Durant chose to pave his own way out. The latest episode of Nets soap kicked off Thursday with an everyday throwaway storyline where the Nets acquired Utah Jazz Defensive Stopper Royce O’Neal† However, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and ESPNs Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets are in the process of fulfilling a trade inquiry that Durant has put to… owner Joseph Tsai.
The news just shocked the earth to dawn after Kyrie Irving decided to sign up and commit to the Nets for one more season. In retrospect, the vow to honor his four-year commitment to the Nets may have been a passive-aggressive elbow in Durant’s direction.
When Durant chose to contact Irving in Brooklyn, Howard Beck of Bleacher Report published a column explaining Durant’s decision.
“Durant had grown tired of the perpetual drama in Golden State, even while he was in charge of the… warriors to two consecutive championships. What some found refreshing about the Warriors – their big personalities, their candor about both on and off court issues – Durant found distracting. He wanted a team that puts basketball above everything else.”
The optimistic outlook at the time was that Irving and Durant’s genuine friendship would temper their destructive tendencies. Any realist understood that this was always going to end for these two. When they were on the field together, sparks flew. In 2021, they committed one of the most efficient fouls in NBA history.
But off the field, they repeatedly came dangerously close to detonation. Irving’s focus on basketball was always tenuous. A moment, his focus was solely on basketball and the next, he was burned out, took two-week sabbaticals, taking a rigid stance against the COVID vaccine, even if it meant keeping his teammates on the hook. Shockingly, Durant was the one who pulled the pin on the Nets grenade.
When Durant is tradedit will be his fourth team in six years. Where will Durant’s travels take him next? Because the landscape is so fertile for Durant, that’s hard to pin down, although Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes has reported that Durant’s favorite destination would be the Phoenix Suns.
Durant’s interest makes limited free agent Deandre Ayton a prime sign-and-trade candidate. Phoenix needed a lifeline this off-season. Their reluctance to sign Ayton to a $177 million five-year extension or to match the $131 million four-year contract that other teams can sign him to put them in a tricky position. Given their tight championship window, Phoenix would do anything to put Durant between Devin Booker, perimeter defensive pliers Mikal Bridges and Chris Paul as soon as possible. The Nets may demand Bridges as a sacrifice, but it’s one the Suns would make in a hot second.
The Portland Trail Blazers lobbied hard for Durant† Don’t be surprised if Mayor Ted Wheeler hosts a live press conference to celebrate KD. to chase to their title-starving, hoop-obsessed city. Portland has the best formula of picks and young talent to sacrifice at the Altar of Durant, while retaining a roster deep enough to compete. They could throw multiple firsts, Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe towards Brooklyn and both teams could be pleased. The Blazers may fight to keep Simons, but if it becomes a deal breaker, his bags will be packed for him.
The Lakers logical on paper. Durant would be with LeBron the ultimate mashup. For years they battled it out as the top 2 players in the league. They’ve both fallen off their tops, but their tops are so high that they’re still consistently top five players when they’re at their worst. From the corner of the Brooklyn Nets, Anthony Davis, 29, may have? enough juice left in his tank to be an All-NBA great for another five years. His porcelain bones will always be a concern, but when he’s healthy, he’s a…One elite, two-way velociraptor.
Miami Got Jalen Brunson’s Cold Shoulder Today After He Signed A $110 Million Four-Year Deal with the Knicksbut again joined the Durant discussions.
However, the Heat has no first-round pick until 2024 and can’t give up consecutive firsts because of The Stepien Rule† preventing teams from being in consecutive checkers with no first-round picks† If Brooklyn were to throw up a player of Durant’s caliber, they’d probably ask for Bam Adebayo. The Nets would be barred from trading Durant for Adebayo due to an obscure rule that prevents teams from having two players acquired through trades while on a Designated Rookie Extension contract. After trading on the trade deadline for Ben Simmons, Adebayo could only end up on the Nets if Simmons was traded. That’s not out of the realm of possibility, but unlikely because his trading stock is in the basement.
Still, where there’s a will, there’s a way. NBA executives wrote the book on how to circumvent loopholes, but simply because they can doesn’t mean they should.
Two point-centers as the focal point of Nets’ lineup for years to come is just as problematic as Embiid and Simmons slogging through the rush hour in the paint. However, a trade with three teams in which Durant is taken to Miami, Bam shipped to another team, who would trade their superstar to Brooklyn, would qualify for Miami and Brooklyn. Finding that third team is easier said than da.
The Nets will have a ton of options to check out. Wherever Durant eventually ends up will turn the competition on its head.