Kevin Durant made himself the most important story of the NBA offseason when he requested a commerce from the Brooklyn Nets simply hours earlier than free company opened on June 30. After practically two months of negotiations that by no means went wherever, Durant and the Nets have agreed to “transfer ahead with our partnership,” in line with a joint launch from the crew and Durant’s media enterprise The Boardroom.
No crew ever got here near assembly Brooklyn’s astronomical asking value. The Nets by no means actually appeared concerned with buying and selling Durant as he will get prepared to start a brand new four-year contract extension. Whereas there was by no means any critical momentum constructing in the direction of a deal, there have been a ton of groups and gamers caught up in rumors and hypothesis as Durant’s commerce request lingered. Now that it’s over, there’s sure to be some damage emotions across the league.
The Nets are the apparent winners of KD ending his commerce request. There are lots of extra losers. Right here’s who damage essentially the most as Durant’s commerce request got here and went with no deal.
4. The Celtics’ relationship with Jaylen Brown
The Boston Celtics got here two wins away from an NBA championship final 12 months. The Celtics already improved their roster this offseason by including Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari, and have been all the time going to begin the season as one of many favorites to win the 2023 title even with no Durant commerce. That why it was somewhat curious when it was reported that Boston had supplied Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, and one first spherical to Brooklyn for Durant.
The concept of Boston buying and selling Brown for Durant made sense. The one drawback is that Brooklyn was by no means going to simply accept that bundle. As Boston’s supply dominated the information cycle someday in July, Brown acknowledged that he had heard the rumor.
This isn’t the primary time Brown has been talked about in commerce rumors, but it surely has solely occurred when the Celtics have been going famous person looking for Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, or Durant. It felt somewhat extra actual this time, although, particularly after Brown was such a crucial piece within the NBA Finals.
Brown is underneath contract for 2 extra seasons in Boston, and might then grow to be a free agent. We’ll see if he misplaced any love for the Celtics after this complete ordeal.
When Durant requested a commerce, he instantly listed the Suns as his most popular vacation spot. It is smart: the Suns had simply gained essentially the most video games within the NBA final season earlier than flaming out within the second spherical of the playoffs, and already had a proficient core in place led by Devin Booker and Chris Paul. A participant of KD’s stature saying he needed to go to Phoenix ought to have pushed the Suns to behave with urgency to really land him, however Phoenix reportedly by no means even put its greatest supply on the desk.
The Suns have by no means gained a championship earlier than, and it seems like their arrow goes the mistaken means after final season’s crushing playoff defeat. Sure, Booker, Mikal Bridges, and Deandre Ayton are all nonetheless ascending, however Chris Paul is one other 12 months older and nearer to the tip of his profession. With KD in tow, the Suns would have been positioned as a legit title favourite coming into the season. I’m not fairly there with them proper now as at present constructed. I’d have the Warriors, Clippers, and Nuggets because the groups extra more likely to signify the West within the 2023 NBA Finals to begin the season.
2. Kevin Durant himself
It’s important to marvel how Durant feels about all of this. Lower than a month in the past, he instructed Nets governor Joe Tsai he didn’t have any religion within the long-term course of the franchise. Then KD gave Tsai an ultimatum to selected between himself and Brooklyn’s braintrust of Sean Marks and Steve Nash. Now Durant is meant to return to the Nets and belief all the things will likely be nice? This actually seems like a nightmare state of affairs for Nash in particularddddd, who actually has higher issues to do along with his time than coach a disgruntled famous person. Profitable is after all the very best medication to fix damaged relationships, however are the Nets actually going to be that good?
Banking on Ben Simmons to completely returning to type after offseason again surgical procedure and a year-long holdout looks like a foul wager. Joe Harris will proceed to be an harm danger shifting ahead, too. Dropping Bruce Brown and Andre Drummond hurts a bit, but it surely’s attainable Royce O’Neale and TJ Warren might add some sorely wanted assistance on the wing. Both means, I’d put the Bucks, Celtics, Raptors, 76ers, and Warmth clear forward of the Nets within the Japanese Convention.
The whole lot is perhaps chill for now, however how would KD really feel if his season with the Nets’ season ends within the first or second spherical as soon as once more? That also looks like the probably end result.
No crew had extra driving on a Durant commerce than the Lakers. Whereas LA was by no means a critical suitor within the KD sweepstakes, they have been the apparent touchdown spot for Kyrie Irving if Durant was moved. With no different obvious marketplace for his abilities, the Lakers and Nets might have had a pleasant and simple deal in place: Russell Westbrook’s expiring contract and first spherical picks in 2027 and 2029 to Brooklyn, Irving to LA. With the information that Durant is staying with the Nets, that dream is over.
As unhappy as it’s to say, it feels just like the Lakers want to maneuver Westbrook for a large improve to have any shot at successful the title this season. Irving was far and away the most suitable choice. Possibly there’s a possible cope with Indiana for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield, however even that gained’t supply the identical upside. LeBron James doesn’t need to finish his profession lacking the playoffs or exiting within the first spherical like he has with the Lakers the final two years. Los Angeles wants a star who suits a lot the roster cleaner than Westbrook. With Irving off the desk, it’s arduous to determine who that may realistically be.