Franchise star Kevin Durant filed a trade with the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, his CEO Rich Kleiman told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Nets general manager Sean Marks is working with Durant and Kleiman to find a trade, Kleiman told ESPN. However, the Nets are not emboldened to honor any of Durant’s favorite targets and plan to strike a deal that will give them the largest asset payback, sources told ESPN.
Durant made the trade request directly to Nets owner Joe Tsai on Thursday, sources told ESPN.
As the Nets prepare to move one of the NBA’s most valuable trades of all time, the entire roster will be available to discuss in deals, sources told ESPN. Teams have called Durant, and the Nets will surely be looking for historic returns on players and draft picks.
The Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat are among two of the teams Kevin Durant has on his wish list, sources told ESPN. With Durant having four years left on his contract, there’s no shortage of teams willing to offload assets for him.
The 33-year-old Durant, a 12-time All-Star and four-time league leading scorer, has four years and nearly $200 million remaining on his contract, including $44.1 million during the 2022-23 season. He will not become an unrestricted free agent until 2026.
He and Kyrie Irving weren’t in touch with the Nets after Irving settled on his $37 million deal Monday, and there was a sense of inevitability that Durant would eventually ask for a trade, sources told ESPN.
The Nets, picked by many before the season to win the NBA championship, ended with a 44-38 record, good for seventh place in the Eastern Conference — and a playoff spot tied by one play -in-game win against the Cleveland Cavaliers was cemented on 4/12.
They were swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round.
In the past three seasons, the Nets have played 247 games (including playoffs and play-ins). Durant and Irving shared the court in just 58 of those games (23%).
Durant averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists this season, but he only saw 55 games in the regular season while recovering from an MCL injury.
If the two-time NBA champion and three-time Olympic champion is traded, it would be the highest pointing average of any player starting on a new team the next season since Moses Malone was traded from Houston to Philadelphia after the 1981-82 season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Sportsbook adjusted odds to win next season’s NBA championship following reports of Durant’s trade request, with the Suns becoming title favorites.
Phoenix’s title chances improve to 11-2 from 9-1 at Caesars Sportsbook. The champion Golden State Warriors are next at 6-1, followed by the Boston Celtics at 13-1. Miami’s odds improved to 8-1 from 16-1, while the Nets’ title odds rose to 30-1 from 15-2 on Thursday afternoon.
In other news, the Nets have acquired Royce O’Neale from the Utah Jazz in exchange for a 2023 first-round pick, sources told ESPN. The choice that goes to Utah will be the lesser of them, Houston or Philadelphia, sources told ESPN.
O’Neale, 29, averaged 7.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in his fifth season with the Jazz.