Windhorst: Kevin Durant's Desire for Suns Trade 'Well Known' in NBA Circles

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJuly 7, 2022

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: Kevin Durant of Brooklyn Nets and Jaylen Brown of Boston Celtics in action during NBA playoffs between Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn of New York City, United States on April 25, 2022. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Kevin Durant reportedly wants to be a Phoenix Sun.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported Thursday it's "well known" around the NBA that Phoenix is Durant's preferred destination in a trade.

"It is well known within the league that Durant prefers to go to the Suns, but the Suns' package that they can offer is not really super impressive. They can't trade Devin Booker. It doesn't make sense to trade Chris Paul. Deandre Ayton is not really desired by the Nets," Windhorst said on First Take (1:15 mark).

Durant requested a trade last week in a phone call with Nets owner Joe Tsai, a decision that concluded a falling out with the organization that took place over the course of the 2021-22 season.

The fiasco stems largely from Durant's relationship with Kyrie Irving and what he seemingly views as a lack of organizational support for his friend. Logan Murdock of The Ringer reported on The Mismatch podcast that the Nets front office did not "grow to understand Kyrie" in Durant's eyes.

Irving's refusal to undergo COVID-19 vaccination undermined the Nets' efforts throughout last season, forcing him to miss all but 29 games of the regular season and playing a part in James Harden's midseason exit. The Nets, who were preseason title favorites, wound up as a play-in team and were eliminated in the first round by the Boston Celtics.

While Durant's trade request did not come as a surprise—he had gone radio silent with the team for weeks before his talk with Tsai—the Nets have set a high price in trade talks. ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported the Nets are seeking at least two All-Star players, along with draft picks, in exchange for Durant. It's almost certain that exorbitant price won't be met, but it's clear the Nets are looking for a historic haul in order to trade their historically great star.

The Suns do not have such a trade package. Their best deal would include Mikal Bridges, Deandre Ayton, Cam Johnson and draft picks. Bridges and Ayton are solid young players, but they're not All-Stars; Johnson is a solid role player. The picks, even ones offered beyond the Durant-Paul era in Phoenix, offer no promises of instant success.

The Nets do have some leverage with Durant under contract for the next four seasons, but their level of control is limited. No team is going to trade with Durant without his full commitment, which could give Phoenix's less-than-stellar trade package a chance.