Kevin Durant trade destinations: Suns, Heat among favorites to land star originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The NBA world is in shambles. In other words, it’s the offseason.
We’ve become accustomed to insane player movement over the last 15 years, but the 2022 offseason still found a way to shock us. Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant was the main character in this year’s story, requesting a trade on Thursday even after Kyrie Irving opted into his contract.
Now, teams across the league are lining up potential deals to acquire the 12-time All-Star forward. With four years left on his contract, Durant is sure to fetch the Nets a king's ransom.
So, what teams have a realistic chance at trading for KD? Here are seven of the top options to acquire No. 7:
Phoenix is the prohibitive favorite to land KD after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that they were on Durant’s list of preferred destinations, along with Miami. The Suns have plenty of assets to deal for Durant, including restricted free agent Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges or Cameron Johnson. A big three of Durant, Devin Booker and Chris Paul would be lethal.
Pat Riley and the Heat are always lurking when a star becomes available. On paper, the Heat might not have enough to get this deal done. Due to a CBA stipulation, Bam Adebayo can’t be included in the trade as long as Ben Simmons is on the Nets’ roster. That leaves Tyler Herro as Miami’s best chip, and the draft picks wouldn’t be too valuable considering how good the team would be with Durant, Adebayo and Jimmy Butler.
KD has been linked to the Bulls in the past, but does it make sense in 2022? Chicago was the No. 6 seed last season, with a solid core of DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic. Chicago also employs Lonzo Ball, Patrick Williams and Coby White, who could be used as trade chips. Durant would be the Bulls’ best player and they could still have a decent cast around him.
New Orleans Pelicans
This could be the best basketball fit on paper. New Orleans made a surprise run to the postseason without Zion Williamson. So, could the Pelicans just swap Williamson (and picks) for Durant? Or would they try to include Brandon Ingram (and others) while retaining Zion with KD? Either way, the Pelicans have the kind of depth to make a deal and still be competitive next season and beyond.
Dallas is likely to lose Jalen Brunson to the Knicks in free agency, so they should absolutely be looking to add help for Luka Doncic. Durant would be the perfect partner, as they would immediately form the league’s top scoring duo. The Mavericks don’t have a ton of assets, as they don’t have their first-round pick in 2023 and the rest of their roster beyond Doncic is veteran role players.
Would the Celtics be willing to trade Jaylen Brown? That’s the ultimate question, because an offer with Brown likely lands them Durant. There should be skepticism from Boston’s side, especially after it just defeated KD’s Nets and made the Finals with Brown helping lead the way. It would be silly to break up Brown and Jayson Tatum after their best season together, so consider the Celtics a longshot.
Golden State Warriors
This is a joke. We can laugh about it. I think.
Seriously though, the Warriors could offer young talent like Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and James Wiseman for KD. But a reunion with Steph Curry in the Bay is about as likely as cows flying.