The Spurs got three first-round picks for Dejounte Murray and the Jazz topped that, essentially bringing back five for Rudy Gobert — setting the bar for Kevin Durant. The Nets are waiting for an Elon Musk-level fortune in exchange for their star, who’s called for a trade, and they might get it.
No, make them have to get it. A king’s ransom for Durant will be General Manager Sean Marks’ only chance to salvage this catastrophic situation and make this a spontaneous refit instead of a long, tedious rebuild.
This situation has essentially frozen much of the league, including the Nets, in deciding what they will do with Kyrie Irving. It remains to be seen where the Nets will send Durant and how much they will get for him. The Jazz Bear awaits the answer, both as a template for the tips the nets may receive and as a potential three-way trading partner.
The Nets are believed to be looking for a young All-Star to be the centerpiece of the deal, as well as a host of picks. ESPN reported that not only have more than half of the teams in the league named Marks made proposals, but some have even returned to up their bids before even receiving a counteroffer. That is an unusual circumstance, but the whole situation is an unusual circumstance.
Durant-type players typically do not become available. Durant asked Brooklyn not only because of the melodrama with Irving, but also reportedly because he didn’t see enough infrastructure and leadership in the franchise, Yahoo’s Chris Haynes reported on NBATV. But wanting out and going where he wants are two different things.
Durant has four years left on his contract and, shockingly, he has neither a player option nor a no-trade clause. That has already lessened his impact on picking a landing spot, and the amount of offers the networks are getting will hurt him even more. They will likely settle on one of these offers before deciding where to trade with Irving and his expiring contract.
While the Nets will clearly work with Durant and business partner Rich Kleiman to find a suitable target, Marks has proven unsentimental and will ultimately accept whatever offer works best for the organization.
The easiest and cleanest moves might be to New Orleans (around Brandon Ingram and picks) or Toronto (based on Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes and picks). Raptors boss Masai Ujiri joined Kawhi Leonard in 2018 and won a title the next season. What would he give Durant for four years?
There are glaring issues with Durant’s favored teams, the Suns and Heat, that could force the trade to be extended to one or two other teams. That’s no stranger to Marks, who helmed an NBA-record five-team megadeal.
The Nets can’t take back the Heat’s best piece, center Bam Adebayo. The contract does not allow them to trade for a player with a specific rookie extension like Adebayo as they already have Ben Simmons in such a deal. (Remember that quirk in the CBA. It will come back. And again.)
And Durant reportedly only wants to play for Miami when alongside Adebayo, Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry, according to The Athletic.
The Nets are unable to recapture Devin Booker from the Suns and are not believed to be thrilled about taking on Phoenix restricted free agent center Deandre Ayton in a sign-and-trade. But Arizona Sports 98.7 FM reported that Utah is considering a trade for Ayton to replace Gobert. Phoenix could then divert the incoming picks along with their own, forwarding Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson.
But the Jazz could be relevant in other ways because of superstar guard Donovan Mitchell.
After Utah dumped Mitchell’s lifelong pal Eric Paschall, the Nets traded for his friend Royce O’Neale and the Jazz traded Gobert away, signaling they are rebuilding. That could prompt Mitchell to ask for a trade. If that happens, it could tempt the Nets to leave Simmons to allow for a three-way deal for Mitchell.
For Irving, the market is tepid at best. And with any deal likely to be more complex and certainly more important for Durant, the Nets are eager to sort that out first before sending Irving to the Lakers or elsewhere.