Kevin Durant will get his wish — a trade out of Brooklyn. More than one of the game’s greatest scorers ever, Durant also understands how to play the game off the court: He knew a “me or Steve Nash and Sean Marks” ultimatum — and especially leaking it publically — would result in Nets owner Joe Tsai backing his coach and GM. However, Durant may have miscalculated if he thought that added pressure would speed up the process. No team will take the Nets off the hook now and increase their offer.
Three teams are known to be in the mix for Durant: Miami, Boston, and Toronto.
Some in the 76ers front office would like to get in that group, reports Ian Begley of SNY.TV.
As of earlier this week, there were high-ranking members of the Sixers who’ve felt strongly about engaging with Brooklyn on a Durant trade. It is unknown if Brooklyn and Philadelphia have made any recent progress on a trade…
The Sixers would almost certainly have to include Tyrese Maxey in a trade for Durant. Given the dynamics at play, you’d think that Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle and other players/draft picks would be included.
76ers GM Daryl Morey is a big game hunter, and this rumor shouldn’t be a shock.
Before going all-in on the Durant trade idea, Philadelphia has a couple of questions it needs to ask itself. First, after Harden forced his way out in Brooklyn, are he and Durant all good and willing to be teammates again? Maybe so. Maybe Harden’s move out of NYC was born out of frustration with Kyrie Irving and the Nets organization, not Durant. But the 76ers need to be sure.
Second, after upgrades this summer with P.J. Tucker, Danuel House and DeAnthony Melton, the 76ers are already contenders. Do they want to mess with that? No doubt a healthy Durant is an upgrade over Harris at the three/four and makes the 76ers title favorites, but are they willing to bet on Durant’s health? Plus, trading Maxey means losing a bridge to the future after Embiid steps away. It may be worth all that to open that championship window wider right now, but it is a risk.
Philadelphia’s offer may not be enough, depending on how Brooklyn rates and values Maxey. The young point guard would be the star of the deal. Harris is a solid player but is only in this potential trade because of his salary (he is owed $76.9 million over this season and next, fully guaranteed), and Thybulle is an excellent young defender to throw in (but is an offensive liability at this point). The 76ers have limited first-round picks they can trade, but there are a couple.
Would the Nets see the Maxey offer as better than a Jaylen Brown-centered offer out of Boston? Probably not. The 76ers also could not beat a Scottie Barnes Raptors offer or a Bam Adebayo Heat offer, although neither of those players are currently on the table. (Would Brooklyn rate Maxey higher than the Heat’s Tyler Herro? Because the reigning Sixth Man of the Year is available for a Durant trade.)
One thing Morey and the 76ers have in common with the Celtics/Heat/Raptors front offices: Nobody is upping their trade offers after Durant’s ultimatum. Teams will let the pressure mount on the Nets as they head toward training camp, waiting for the Nets’ sky-high trade demands to fall back to earth.