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Kevin Durant Rumors: Nets Prioritizing Players over Picks in Trade Negotiations

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJuly 6, 2022

Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets may be willing to trade Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but they reportedly want to do so while remaining competitive rather than building around draft picks.

"I am told that the Nets are prioritizing getting players back in this deal, that they want the prime assets in this trade to be a star player or high-level star players, that they're not focused on draft picks, although I'm sure they want draft picks too," ESPN's Brian Windhorst said on the Hoop Collective podcast (2:25 mark).

The Nets have been exploring a Durant trade over the last week, but it does not appear any deal has gotten close. Brooklyn is expected to cast a wide net across the league in hopes of landing the best possible package for the 12-time All-Star, who has four years remaining on his contract.

Irving's market has been understandably more tepid given the damage to his public reputation over the last year. The Los Angeles Lakers have been oft-mentioned as a potential destination, but Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium told the Pat McAfee Show that there is currently "no traction" on a deal.

It's likely the Nets decide on a Durant destination before turning their attention to Irving.

The Phoenix Suns have been locked in as the odds-on favorite to land Durant since his trade request leaked to the media. Phoenix can offer a package that includes Miles Bridges, Deandre Ayton (via sign-and-trade) and Cam Johnson along with draft picks, giving Brooklyn the core of a solid young roster.

That said, it's unclear if Bridges or Ayton will ever become All-Stars, and the Nets are trading one of the 15 greatest players in NBA history. It's possible Phoenix will have to find a third team that's willing to give up a more tangibly proven player to complete a deal.

The Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors have been mentioned as possible suitors as well, but both come with their hangups. Toronto likely wouldn't be a championship favorite simply by landing Durant; it's also unclear whether Durant would want to play up north for the next four seasons. While the Nets do have some level of power with Durant under contract, no team is going to send out the necessary assets to land him without some level of commitment.

The Heat have the type of star the Nets would want in Bam Adebayo, but Brooklyn can't acquire him because they have Ben Simmons on the roster. Teams cannot have two players they traded for on Rookie Designated Extensions. It's also unclear whether Miami would be willing to add Adebayo to a Durant trade.

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