And if finally Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were staying at the Nets? It is more and more possible, and it is all the more likely that the extension of Deandre Ayton to the Suns comes to weigh down the plans of Durant, whose priority would be to join Phoenix.
Indeed, Ayton can no longer be transferred before January 15, 2023, and even if Phoenix finds him a base, the pivot has a right of veto. Of course, the Suns still have several very good players who could be included in a trade with Brooklyn. We think of Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Cameron Johnson, and up to four first rounds of Draft. But none of those players have the potential of an Ayton, and the Nets won’t sell Durant. Besides, if the Nets were really interested in all these players, the deal would have already been concluded. And if Phoenix is really interested, an offer would have already been made. Which doesn’t seem to be the case.
The Miami track relaunched?
If the Suns look offside, the Heat are still in the running to host Durant, and that would be Durant’s 2nd favorite destination. On paper, Miami has everything it takes to satisfy Brooklyn, with the exception of the first rounds of the Draft. They can yield a maximum of three. For salaries to stick with Durant’s, the Heat can drop Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Kyle Lowry and an additional player (Strus, Jovic, etc.). Except that Durant would like to play with Lowry, and inevitably it will get stuck. Knowing also that Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are untouchable, will Brooklyn accept an offer around Herro, the best 6th man of the year?
The other tracks like Toronto or New Orleans are interesting, but nothing says that Durant wants to join the Raptors or the Pelicans.
Kyrie Irving also blocked at the Nets?
Next to all that, there is Kyrie Irving. For him, only one track remains, the one that leads to the Lakers. LeBron James would push for him to come, except that the leaders are much less keen on the idea of recovering a player at the end of the contract, whose stints in Cleveland, Boston and now Brooklyn have always ended badly.
In the end, the Nets could start the season with the Irving-Durant duo, alongside Ben Simmons, with some interesting reinforcements like Royce O’Neale (Jazz) and TJ Warren (Pacers). What to join the race for the title? On paper, the workforce can finish in the Top 3 of the Eastern Conference. Provided that Irving, like Durant, don’t have their minds elsewhere…