Report: Kevin Durant requests trade from Nets, prefers Suns or Heat

Kevin Durant and Chris Paul in Phoenix Suns v Brooklyn Nets
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Kyrie Irving opting in with the Nets was, in fact, not the end of the drama in Brooklyn.

Kevin Durant – whose commitment to the team had been questioned during the latest Irving saga – requested a trade.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This is a bombshell that completely disrupts the NBA landscape. To the point activity when free agency opens tonight could be slowed as teams plot to get Durant.

The 33-year-old is arguably the best basketball player in the world. Players anywhere near this good nearly never become available via trade.

With four years left on his contract, Durant has minimal tangible leverage where he goes. But, as his former Nets teammate James Harden said, NBA stars can mostly control their own destiny. Durant and Rich Kleiman will certainly push however they can to get Durant to a preferred destination.

If they land Durant without losing Chris Paul or Devin Booker, the Suns would immediately become championship favorites. That’s a spectacular and balanced star trio. Phoenix restricted free agent Deandre Ayton has been rumored to Brooklyn and could go there in a sign-and-trade for Durant. The Suns also have Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson and all their own draft picks.

The Heat are always star hunting, and Durant’s scoring would fit beautifully with Jimmy Butler doing the dirty work on the wing. Miami has Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and now-available first-round picks. Of course, the Heat would love to keep Adebayo with Durant, but a Herro-led package likely wouldn’t satisfy the Nets.

The Nets have indicated they were prepared for this outcome if necessary to keep their organizational culture. But for a team that near-limitless upside with Durant, Harden and Irving, this is one heck of an unraveling. Beyond the high-stakes Durant sweepstakes, there’s now renewed attention on what Irving will do.

Meanwhile, the Rockets are sitting pretty with control of Brooklyn’s next five first-round picks.