The Kevin Durant era in Brooklyn is now officially over after he was traded to the Phoenix Suns. The stunning trade happened when many Nets fans were sound asleep, but it may have awakened the trade market.
With the NBA trade deadline nearly here, there has been quite a bit of trade chatter but very few actual trades up until a late-night/early-morning flurry of deals. That might have to do with Kyrie Irving’s trade request and subsequent trade to the Dallas Mavericks. It was surprising enough to throw the Brooklyn Nets into chaos.
After a rocky start to the year, the Nets were red-hot before Kevin Durant got injured. They cooled off in his absence, and once Irving was gone, trading Durant to the Phoenix Suns suddenly seemed possible.
Several teams pursued Durant but the Suns offered a massive haul to land him.
Now he’s a Sun, thanks to new owner Mat Ishbia, who wanted the team to be aggressive about improving the team. Aggressive they were. The Suns essentially traded five first-round picks for a 34-year-old player, albeit a superstar player, but a 34-year-old nonetheless.
In addition to giving up four firsts and a pick swap, they dealt Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and Jae Crowder. While Crowder hadn’t played this season, he was a highly sought-after player, and the Nets could flip him again before the deadline. Meanwhile, Bridges is seen as one of the best young two-way players in the NBA and is also known for his durability. Johnson, who just came back from an extended injury absence, was having a breakout season and is known as a sharpshooter.
Neither player is as good as Durant, nor project to be, making it a four-quarters-for-a-dollar trade. The Suns traded at least nine assets for one player, knowing that Durant is one of the best scorers of all time, and having a player that can consistently drop 30 points in a playoff game is incredibly valuable.
While Chris Paul has definitely fallen off, he should have no problem helping Durant get easier shots. Durant should also take pressure and attention off Devin Booker, allowing him to cook on offense more easily. The Suns also still have DeAndre Ayton, who has had his ups and downs this season but is still capable of big games and is this team’s wildcard.
Overall, the Suns gave up a shocking amount to upgrade, but upgrade they did. Their goal is clearly to win a championship, and with the West wide open, they could definitely make the NBA Finals thanks to this trade.