Kevin Durant Trade Rumors: Timberwolves Called Nets; Wouldn't Deal Towns, Edwards

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 2, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 23:  Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on against the Boston Celtics during Game Three of the Eastern Conference First Round NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center on April 23, 2022 in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images).
Al Bello/Getty Images

The Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly checked in on Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant before pulling off a blockbuster trade with the Utah Jazz for center Rudy Gobert on Friday.

According to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, the T-Wolves placed "several" calls to the Nets about KD, but since they were unwilling to include center Karl-Anthony Towns or guard Anthony Edwards in offers for Durant, nothing ever came of the discussions.

With a Durant deal off the table, the Timberwolves reportedly agreed to send four first-round picks, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Leandro Bolmaro and 2022 No. 22 overall pick Walker Kessler to Utah for Gobert.

In Gobert, the Timberwolves are getting a three-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year, giving Minnesota perhaps the most dominant frontcourt duo in the league when pairing him with Towns.

The T-Wolves were also able to retain their backcourt of Edwards and D'Angelo Russell in the deal, giving them one of the NBA's most talented starting lineups ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.

Durant would have been an even bigger addition if the Timberwolves could have gotten it done without surrendering Towns or Edwards, but the Nets apparently balked at that idea.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday that Durant's business manager, Rich Kleiman, told him KD had requested a trade out of Brooklyn.

The request came shortly after Kyrie Irving announced his decision to opt into the final year of his contract with the Nets for $36.5 million.

Both Durant and Irving signed with the Nets in 2019 in hopes of bringing them multiple championships, but things haven't gone according to plan.

The 2019-20 season was a lost one, with KD missing the entire year while rehabbing from a torn Achilles and Kyrie missing most of the year because of injury. Then, the Nets experienced a second-round playoff exit in 2020-21 and were knocked out in the first round this past season.

Injuries nagged Durant again in 2021-22 and cost him 27 games, but the 12-time All-Star still played at an elite level when healthy, averaging 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists per contest.

The one-time NBA MVP won a pair of championships and was named NBA Finals MVP after each of those wins while with the Golden State Warriors, making him even more attractive to teams on the hunt for a title.

The T-Wolves are among those teams, but it is difficult to fault them for wanting to hold on to their young core.

Towns is a three-time All-Star at 26 years old and perhaps a top-three center in the NBA, while Edwards was the No. 1 pick in 2020 and is coming off a career year that saw him average 21.3 points per game.

Trading for the 33-year-old Durant would have made the Timberwolves instant championship threats, but it likely would have shortened their window as well.

KD may be a better target for a team that is on the precipice of winning it all, such as the Miami Heat or Phoenix Suns, who are reportedly on Durant's wish list of teams to get traded to.