The entire NBA landscape just rattled a bit when Shams Charania reported that Kevin Durant requested that the Brooklyn Nets trade him just hours before free agency begins. The Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns are early contenders to secure Durant in a trade with the Nets.
Durant turns 34 in September, but he’s still at the top of his game. He averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.4 assists in 55 games with the Nets last season. He also had a PER rating of 25.69.
Many teams, including the Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, New Orleans Pelicans, and New York Knicks are in the hunt for Durant, and are all getting on the phone with the Nets right now.
NBA futures earthquake: Heat, Suns bump
Durant is considered one of — if not the best — players in the NBA, so whoever lands him in a trade will become an instant championship contender. Several sportsbooks and bookies took their NBA futures off the board while they recalibrate the 2023 championship odds based on where Durant might end up.
When DraftKings reposted its odds, the Suns saw their title odds bump from +900 to +600 as the third-highest team on the futures board, with rumors suggesting they’ll land Durant. The Suns trail the LA Clippers (+550) and defending champion Golden State Warriors (+550). The Heat are also a popular choice for a Durant trade, and they improved from +1400 to +850 odds as the sixth-highest team on the NBA futures board.
Just two weeks ago, the Nets were co-favorites at +600 odds to win the title, but now they’re +5000.
The Suns were the runner-up last season, and the Heat were the runner-up in 2020. Both teams secured the #1 seed in their respective conferences heading into the postseason. The Heat made it to the Eastern Conference finals before they were knocked out in seven games by the Boston Celtics. The Suns imploded in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals and were upset by the Dallas Mavericks.
KD wants out of Brooklyn
There were rumblings in Gotham that Durant would seek a trade if Kyrie Irving bolted in free agency. However, Irving opted in for a player option in the final year of his contract and will play with the Nets this season for $36.5 million. There’s still a chance that the Nets trade Irving, but for now, Durant is the one who wants out of Brooklyn.
The Nets snatched Durant and Irving away from the Knicks a couple of summers ago when both stars were rumored to join the Knicks in free agency. They both ended up in the Big Apple, but playing in Brooklyn as opposed to Manhattan.
Even when the Nets added James Harden in a mega-trade with the Houston Rockets, they were unable to win a title when the injury bug reared its ugly head in the 2021 playoffs. As a result, last season was an utter disaster in Brooklyn, despite the fact they were favorites to win the 2022 NBA title.
The Nets finished in eighth place and secured the #7 seed in the Play-In Tournament before the Celtics swept them in four games.
During a tumultuous season, Durant suffered an MCL sprain while Irving refused to get vaccinated, despite an NYC health mandate preventing him from playing home games. Harden wanted out of town, and the Nets were forced to make a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons. Simmons didn’t play a single game with the Nets last season due to a back injury that occurred while he tried to get into game shape.
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