Kevin Durant commerce rumors: Rating all 29 groups as attainable locations for the previous MVP

The commerce marketplace for superstars tends to be pretty small. They typically use their standing and contracts to exert an unlimited quantity of management over their locations, and more often than not, they’ve settled on one or two most well-liked houses earlier than negotiations even start. A real bidding battle by the complete NBA for a single star is exceedingly rarer. Even rarer is the form of star who may genuinely match onto any staff.

However that is what Kevin Durant is. On the court docket, he was malleable sufficient to hitch a 73-win staff with out lacking a beat. Want him to run your offense for prolonged stretches? He can do this. Need him to be your late-game isolation killer? Proper up his alley as effectively. Should you simply need him to run round screens and take 3s? You wager he can do this. Realistically, he will be doing a mixture of the three, scaling up or down in every space relying on who he is enjoying with. If you cannot match Kevin Durant into your offense, it is your fault, not his. 

Gamers like that simply do not incessantly turn into accessible. Durant himself has hit the market simply twice in his profession: as soon as becoming a member of that 73-win Golden State Warriors staff and finally leaving it for the Brooklyn Nets. Each had been utterly his choice. That may not be the case this time round. Durant signed a four-year, $192 million extension final offseason. He is below contract by the 2025-26 season, when he can be 37. Whereas Durant may actually wield some affect in a brand new house ought to the necessity come up, the one true leverage he holds is the specter of retirement. If he hits the open market, virtually anyone may attempt to commerce for him.

So let’s check out his market by that lens. If we think about a world by which Kyrie Irving forces his method out of Brooklyn and the Nets combust quite than try to carry Durant to his contract, which groups are essentially the most and least more likely to land the two-time Finals MVP? We’ll begin on the backside and work our method up.

Okay.D. would not have an interest

29. Sacramento Kings

28. Indiana Pacers

27. Orlando Magic

26. San Antonio Spurs

25. Charlotte Hornets

I should not want to elucidate to you why Kevin Durant wouldn’t need to play for the Kings. The Pacers are way more secure, however they’re younger, in a small market and never particularly aggressive. So are the Magic and Spurs, however they a minimum of play in warm-weather cities with out state revenue tax. Durant met with San Antonio in 2017 and the Spurs nonetheless have Gregg Popovich, in order that they edge out the Magic, however the Hornets high this group due to LaMelo Ball and Michael Jordan. Nonetheless, these are all groups Durant merely wouldn’t be enthusiastic about becoming a member of. They’re the simplest cross-offs. Why commerce for a participant who would have little interest in enjoying for you?

It isn’t the correct time

24. Detroit Pistons

23. Houston Rockets

22. Minnesota Timberwolves

Durant most likely is not particularly enthusiastic about enjoying for these groups both, however he is sufficient of a hoops junkie to a minimum of respect the expertise. Cade Cunningham, Anthony Edwards and Jalen Inexperienced are all on All-Star trajectories. In the future, they’d probably be fantastic companions for Durant. That day simply is not at the moment. He is 34. By the point they’re able to compete, his prime will probably be over. So Detroit and Houston can throw all the picks they need at Brooklyn. The Wolves may even provide Karl-Anthony Cities. However the Pistons and Rockets simply cannot win on Durant’s timetable. Minnesota most likely may if it managed to maintain Cities and Edwards, however at that time, what may it even provide Brooklyn? The Wolves’ picks would not be particularly invaluable with a lot expertise in tow, and their third-best commerce chip is … D’Angelo Russell? These groups are positioned to contend a number of years from now. No have to rock the boat for Durant now.

Do not have sufficient to commerce

21. Washington Wizards

20. Utah Jazz

19. Chicago Bulls

18. Dallas Mavericks

17. Philadelphia 76ers

Durant has by no means been all that enthusiastic about returning to his hometown of Washington D.C. He did not even grant the Wizards a gathering in 2016. Possibly Bradley Beal and the participant he as soon as dubbed a unicorn in Kristaps Porzingis may change that … however what do the Nets get out of that association? Washington cannot commerce a first-round choose till 2027 and its younger gamers aren’t all that thrilling. The Jazz are equally encumbered from a draft perspective and haven’t any youth to talk of. Possibly providing Donovan Mitchell may tempt Brooklyn, however why would Utah even trouble? A Durant-Rudy Gobert staff is not profitable the West even when Durant would play in Utah.

Chicago is a little more fascinating, however the Bulls run into two main points right here. The primary is that sign-and-trading Zach LaVine to Brooklyn would create some arduous cap points for one of many NBA’s costlier groups in the event that they take again wage in a Kyrie Irving commerce. The opposite is that it could contain convincing LaVine to hitch the Nets with out Durant and Irving in place. Dallas would most likely curiosity Durant fairly a bit, however a Jalen Brunson sign-and-trade presents those self same arduous cap points, and Dallas has no extra significant belongings to dangle. The Mavericks cannot commerce a first-round choose till 2027. Chicago cannot transfer any of its personal picks till 2029, however has a lottery-protected future Blazers choose at its disposal.

After which there’s Philly. Tyrese Maxey is a pleasant begin, however that is about so far as the 76ers can go. Whoever the Sixers take at No. 23 total can be accessible, however they can not commerce any first-round picks after that. Tobias Harris is unfavorable wage, and after Matisse Thybulle’s playoff flameout, the cabinet is fairly naked. Plus … would Durant even need to reunite with James Harden? Philadelphia represents the cutoff line. The primary 13 groups listed below are virtually actually out of the operating. However all subsequent groups have a path into the derby if they need it. 

He would not … would he?

16. Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder

15. Golden State Warriors

In a vacuum, these could be the 2 high groups on the checklist. Durant is aware of, for a truth, that he can win championships with the Warriors. As badly as they need to proceed competing after their present core retires, the chance to get Stephen Curry to 5, six and even seven championships could be too tempting to cross up. The Warriors have loads of youth to ship the Nets. The Thunder have limitless youth to ship the Nets within the type of draft picks. Oklahoma Metropolis’s 18 first-round picks within the subsequent seven drafts give it the pliability so as to add just about anybody. If the Thunder wished to pivot into speedy competition, they may surrender half of their draft capital for Durant proper every now and then use the opposite half on one other star of their selecting. The second the Thunder resolve they need to win, they are going to begin profitable. They could not give him a championship roster early in his profession. Now they’ll.

However nothing about Durant, the human being, means that he’d need to go the LeBron James route and return to a staff he is already performed for. He stated himself he does not belief anyone in Oklahoma Metropolis. No matter compelled him to depart Golden State in 2019 probably nonetheless exists. If Durant adjustments his thoughts? Push the Thunder and Warriors to the highest of this checklist. Till then? Do not count on both staff to pursue a reunion.

Would they commerce their established stars?

14. Milwaukee Bucks

13. Los Angeles Clippers

12. Los Angeles Lakers

It isn’t in Milwaukee’s organizational DNA to swap Jrue Vacation and/or Khris Middleton for Durant … however oh boy, would a Durant-Giannis Antetokounmpo pairing be particular. For years, it has been argued that Ben Simmons may emulate a few of what makes Giannis so particular if surrounded by the taking pictures he is had. This is able to be a real-world take a look at of that principle. This commerce is extra enjoyable in principle than observe. The Bucks aren’t risking a roster that will have gained back-to-back titles if wholesome. The Clippers could be a bit extra open-minded about Paul George. Kawhi Leonard tried to recruit Kevin Durant in 2019 however failed. Put the 2 of them collectively now with the depth the Clippers have assembled they usually’d be very arduous to disclaim as championship favorites. However George acquired the Clippers to the Western Convention finals for the primary time in staff historical past. Sentiment would most likely get in the best way of a deal. 

Spoiler alert: The Nets are usually not going to be enthusiastic about buying and selling Durant for Russell Westbrook. This is the place we get actually funky … what about Anthony Davis? The Lakers are reportedly not keen to commerce him below any circumstances … however what in the event that they tried to land BOTH Nets stars? Davis goes to Brooklyn to pair with Simmons and the Nets’ limitless array of shooters. Brooklyn will get Westbrook’s expiring contract to dangle together with the 2 Philadelphia first-round picks it acquired on the deadline together with the 2027 and 2029 Lakers picks it could absolutely demand on this deal for a fringe scorer to place subsequent to Simmons and Davis. If the Nets need to contend now, this is not the craziest factor on this planet, and all indications recommend that Durant and Irving need to keep collectively. This is not really going to occur. It is too loopy even for the NBA. However there’s the tiniest shred of logic to it, and when gamers desire a particular vacation spot, they are typically profitable in getting there. 

Would they commerce their younger stars?

11. Cleveland Cavaliers

10. Toronto Raptors

9. New Orleans Pelicans

8. Denver Nuggets

7. Boston Celtics

5 groups. 5 younger stars. Any one in every of these groups couldn’t solely give the Nets a stable return for Durant, however may stay in competition afterward. The one query is whether or not or not they’d really give up that younger star to make a deal occur. The groups beneath are ranked by a mixture of that probably willingness, Durant’s attainable curiosity in them and the way good they’d be after such a commerce.

  • I doubt Durant desires to spend his twilight in Cleveland, however Evan Mobley could be a dream get for Brooklyn right here. A Durant-Darius Garland-Jarrett Allen core could be within the hunt straight away. It is completely balanced. However would you sacrifice 14 years of Mobley for 4 years of Durant? I believe Cleveland would not.
  • Toronto loves nothing greater than lengthy, lanky wings. Durant is one of the best of all of them. The Raptors have already got one of many NBA’s most imposing protection. Durant may resolve their half-court offensive points in a snap. The questions listed below are the identical as they’re for Cleveland. Does Durant need to go north of the border? And are the Raptors keen to sacrifice Scottie Barnes’ entire profession for a quick title window? Once more, I feel the reply isn’t any.
  • Which younger star are we speaking about? Would Brooklyn desire the proto-Durant in Brandon Ingram, or the inside dominator Zion Williamson? Ingram suits higher with Simmons. Williamson is the higher long-term prospect. Both would match like a glove subsequent to Durant on a staff that has one other high-end scorer (CJ McCollum) and loads of younger position gamers. 
  • The Nuggets have been turning away Jamal Murray suitors for years. Durant could be the participant who may change their thoughts, particularly given the harm threat Michael Porter Jr. poses each now and sooner or later. Durant and Nikola Jokic would instantly turn into the NBA’s greatest offensive duo. 
  • Jayson Tatum is out of the query for Boston. He simply outplayed Durant in a four-game sweep. However Jaylen Brown’s ball-handling led to among the turnover issues that doomed the Celtics within the playoffs. That is not a problem for Durant. Boston may pair its league-best protection with an offense all of the sudden using a second elite shot-maker. Boston might need gained all of it with Durant in Brown’s place, however by some means I doubt Irving has given Boston a very glowing assessment in non-public to Durant. Even when the Celtics would make this swap, who is aware of how Durant could be.

On the periphery

6. Atlanta Hawks

5. New York Knicks

Atlanta has virtually every thing a staff would wish to pursue a commerce like this. In Trae Younger, they’ve a certified co-star for Durant. The Hawks play in a market he’d most likely be enthusiastic about. They’re determined to make a transfer of some type and have put virtually every thing on the desk. They’d most likely ship Brooklyn all of their picks if want be, and none of their first-round picks are at present encumbered for commerce functions. They will absolutely be within the combine if Durant actually does hit the block, however the one factor they lack is an important factor wanted in a commerce of this magnitude: a centerpiece. De’Andre Hunter most likely is not getting it performed right here. If he does? Durant’s market can have slipped additional than we thought-about attainable. 

The Knicks are in the identical boat. RJ Barrett has a shiny future forward of him, however has he confirmed sufficient but to be the centerpiece of a Durant deal? Uncertain. The Knicks may ship all of their picks Brooklyn’s method, and as a normal rule, groups ought to need to purchase as many unprotected Knicks picks as attainable. What places New York forward of Atlanta is merely Durant’s anticipated desire. He is already in New York. All issues being equal, he’d most likely desire to remain there. 

On this factor

4. Portland Path Blazers

3. Phoenix Suns

2. Memphis Grizzlies

1. Miami Warmth

You could be stunned to see Portland ranked this excessive after a lottery season, however the Blazers test virtually each field right here, assuming Durant is a fan of the Pacific Northwest. The No. 7 choose and breakout star Anfernee Simons in a sign-and-trade aren’t viable centerpieces on their very own, however collectively, they may kind the idea of a deep and compelling package deal. Portland may add to that package deal by eradicating the protections on the first-round choose it owes to Chicago and throwing in additional draft capital. Damian Lillard is a participant that Durant has brazenly admired, and Jerami Grant could be a invaluable position participant subsequent to them. It make take Portland a yr to construct up the remainder of the roster, however the Blazers seem dedicated to profitable now, whereas Lillard nonetheless can. There is not any higher win-now transfer on the desk than going all-in for Durant, who would instantly turn into by far one of the best teammate Lillard has ever had.

After which we transfer onto the contenders. Memphis and Phoenix are in a lifeless warmth for the No. 2 spot. Phoenix would most likely be Durant’s desire based mostly on his well-known affection for Devin Booker. He thought-about linking up with Chris Paul in 2016, however higher late than by no means. Mikal Bridges, DeAndre Ayton in a sign-and-trade and all of Phoenix’s picks (that are deceptively invaluable on a roster all of the sudden constructed round a 37-year-old Paul and a soon-to-be 34-year-old Durant) could be the idea of a deal right here. Memphis simply has a barely higher package deal to supply. Desmond Bane’s scoring might be extra invaluable than Bridges’ protection for the lengthy haul. Jaren Jackson is already locked into an inexpensive contract. The Grizzlies have been hoarding picks for a number of years now, and whereas their very own picks would not be as attractive as Phoenix’s, the sheer quantity they may throw at Brooklyn would absolutely attraction to a Nets staff that’s with out its personal picks. 

And on the high of the heap, as is so typically the case the place superstars are involved, are the Miami Warmth. Tyler Herro has been tossed into loads of hypothetical trades in current weeks, however for a participant of Durant’s caliber? Miami would probably a minimum of think about constructing a package deal round him and Bam Adebayo. The Warmth created some extra flexibility on the commerce deadline by transferring the protections on a first-round choose they owe to the Thunder. They will have the ability to commerce their 2022 first-round choose after the draft together with their 2023 selection and one choose from both 2028 or 2029. If the Nets need Duncan Robinson? I am unable to think about he’d stand in the best way of a deal.

The tip purpose could be to pair Durant with Jimmy Butler. Hopefully Kyle Lowry would stay in place. The Warmth would then use their mid-level exception or presumably one other commerce so as to add some measurement, and their exceptional monitor file of creating bench gamers within the G League would guarantee sturdy depth. Add all of that up and you’ve got a staff that ought to not solely attraction to Durant, however could be keen to surrender what it could take to land him.

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