The Kevin Durant trade drama continues to grow with each passing day following the Nets star requesting an exit from Brooklyn despite having four more years on his contract.
With more than half the league reportedly having inquired about a deal for Durant, his former team the Golden State Warriors are now reportedly keen to bring him back to San Francisco to reprise their championship team of 2017 and 2018.
The Athletic’s Sam Amick wrote last Monday: “Don’t hold your breath for a Warriors reunion, as all signs point to that being a total non-starter.” But the tables have turned.
Marc J. Spears of ESPN claimed the Warriors “have interest” in a deal and can offer “the best package for both parties.”
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“The one team I’m telling you guys to keep an eye on is the Golden State Warriors,” Spears said on ESPN radio. “Golden State could have the best package for both parties. Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, All-Star Andrew Wiggins, the former No. 2 pick James Wiseman.
“What the Nets want is a young All-Star and want perhaps a future All-Star. They’re all under 30. They also want picks, maybe the ability to swap picks. But if you can get those four players, if I’m the Nets, I’m very, very happy.
“For Kevin Durant, the Warriors — they’re very familiar with [Durant] and vice versa. He knows where to live in San Francisco. He knows how the offence works. He knows he can win a championship there. Yeah, Steve Kerr would probably have to figure some things out.
“But with each passing day that this carries on, I’ve heard the Warriors have interest in terms of a young haul, in terms of people being happy on both sides. To me, the Golden State option is the best option.”
Even if the Warriors send that massive hoard of players and some picks to the Nets, their roster would still include the likes of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney.
It is that depth which positions them as one of the best-placed teams to make a trade – even if it would mean blowing up their long-term succession plan, one which was forged after Durant departed in 2019.
Durant’s decision to request a trade away from Brooklyn was due, in part, to the Warriors winning this season.
Adrian Wojnarowski told ESPN’s Get Up: “I think it exasperated Kevin Durant’s frustration.
“I think it’s the narrative that surrounded him that he dealt with in the aftermath of him leaving Golden State and then going on to win a title without him, contrasted with what has gone on in Brooklyn in these last three years.”
Led by Durant, the Nets made the playoffs last year and this year, but only managed to get past the first round in 2021 before being crushed by the Celtics this time around.
But it remains to be seen whether Durant would be open to a return to Golden State, despite his prior success there.
Meanwhile, Joel Embiid has begged his Philadelphia front office to try and swing a deal to bring Durant to the 76ers, in what would create one of the league’s deadliest one-two punches.
Jason Dumas wrote: “It’s unclear whether Kevin Durant is interested in joining the 76ers, but Joel Embiid has made it clear to management that he wants them to exhaust every option in trying to acquire Durant.”
It would cost the Sixers a hefty price – the likes of Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris, and Matisse Thybulle would likely have to go the other way.
But it again reinforces just how highly-rated Durant is by his rival superstars, and how desperate so many players and teams are to get a deal done.