Kevin Durant Trade Rumors: Teams Reluctant to Pay 'Super Premium Price' for Nets Star

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJuly 8, 2022

ATHENS, GREECE - MAY 04: Kevin Durant, NBA player of the Brooklyn Nets, attends the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Play Off Game 5 match between Olympiacos Piraeus and AS Monaco at Peace and Friendship Stadium on May 04, 2022 in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Panagiotis Moschandreou/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images)
Panagiotis Moschandreou/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Teams have reportedly been hesitant to meet the Brooklyn Nets' asking price in Kevin Durant trade talks.

"The market does not want to pay a super premium price for him, because if you trade away all of these top assets on your team to get him, he becomes less valuable to you. And that gulf is why we are in a stalemate right now and could have one for a while," ESPN's Brian Windhorst said Friday on Get Up (4:20 mark).

The Nets have been exploring Durant's trade market for more than a week after he informed owner Joe Tsai that he wants out of Brooklyn. ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported the Nets are asking for two All-Star players in any Durant deal.

It's highly unlikely any team meets that exorbitant asking price. The Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers were the only teams in the NBA with two All-Stars last season. None of those teams are going to be willing to trade two All-Star players for Durant; the Nets would be lucky if they landed one in a deal.

That said, Brooklyn does have some leverage. Durant is under contract for four more seasons. Unless Durant is willing to forgo $194 million—fat chance of that happening—the Nets could theoretically hold on to him and force him to play next season.

The likelihood of that happening is slim in the so-called player empowerment era, but the threat of keeping Durant should be enough for Brooklyn to maximize its potential return.

Windhorst reported Thursday on First Take (1:15 mark) the Phoenix Suns are Durant's preferred destination. The Suns could offer a package that includes Mikal Bridges, Deandre Ayton, Cam Johnson and several future draft picks, but Brooklyn's been nonplussed by that type of offer thus far.

"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.

Durant's departure will likely lead to the exit of Kyrie Irving, who is the eye of the storm in this Nets fiasco. Irving played just 29 regular-season games after refusing to undergo COVID-19 vaccination, and his extended absences factored into James Harden's desire for a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Durant, who is longtime friends with Kyrie, reportedly feels the Nets front office did not do enough to "grow to understand Kyrie," per Logan Murdock of The Ringer.