Lakers Rumors: Kevin Durant Trade Given 'Zero' Chance Amid Kyrie Irving Links

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 1, 2022

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Kevin Durant is likely going to be with a new franchise in the coming weeks after requesting a trade Thursday. It won't be the Los Angeles Lakers.

Per Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic: "As for the prospect of the Lakers trying to get in on the Durant sweepstakes themselves, perhaps by making [Anthony] Davis available in the process, a source close to the situation put the chances at 'zero.' Their focus, it seems, is on [Kyrie] Irving. And vice versa."

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat are "among the teams Durant has on his wish list for a potential trade," though with four years left on his contract, the Nets have some leverage on where they ultimately send him.

Woj added that "more than half the teams in the NBA have already inquired about what it will take to get Durant from Brooklyn," so the market will be robust for Durant.

But while the Lakers won't be in the running, they will likely be on Irving's trail, with Buha and Amick reporting the Lakers were interested in reuniting the veteran point guard with LeBron James.

The fallout from the Nets not committing a long-term extension to Irving likely played a part in Durant's trade request and Irving seeking sign-and-trade scenarios before ultimately opting into his player option for the upcoming season.

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving had no contact with the franchise after Irving opted into his deal on Monday, and a sense of inevitability existed that Durant would eventually ask for a trade, sources tell ESPN. It happened today.

In turn, Irving also departing the Nets via trade wouldn't come as a surprise in the least.

But while Durant and Irving joined the Nets as a package deal, it's hard to envision a scenario where they join a new team as a combo partnership via trade. Most teams wouldn't have the combination of enticing assets to both appease the Nets, match the pair's $81 million combined salary with equal outgoing contracts and still have a championship-worthy supporting cast already in place.

You could put together some wild hypotheticals—KD and Kyrie pairing with Nikola Jokic on the Denver Nuggets, with Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon going back to the Nets, for instance—but the likelihood is that they'll be moved to separate teams.

Durant is going to fetch a king's ransom. It's very rare that superstars get traded with four years left on their contract, and while he's 33, Durant hasn't shown many signs of diminishing play after averaging 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists across 55 games, though injuries did limit his on-court availability.

Still, every team around the NBA would love to have a player of Durant's ability. Most, like the Lakers, won't be able to pull off such a move.


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