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Kevin Durant Trade Rumors: Pelicans Remain Interested amid 'Steep' Asking Price

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 9, 2022

AP Photo/John Minchillo

The New Orleans Pelicans are reportedly still interested in trading for All-Star forward Kevin Durant despite a "steep" asking price from the Brooklyn Nets.

According to Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News, the Nets are looking to get "an All-Star level player, rotation players and significant draft compensation" in exchange for Durant.

Winfield noted that the Pels could offer a trade that checks those boxes with the inclusion of a former All-Star in Brandon Ingram, plus Herbert Jones, Devonte' Graham, Jose Alvarado and draft picks acquired as part of previous trades with the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski (h/t ESPN's Tim Bontemps) reported in June that Durant's manager, Rich Kleiman, said KD had requested a trade out of Brooklyn.

Wojnarowski added that the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns were believed to be the top two teams on Durant's wish list.

While the expectation was that teams would be beating down the Nets' door with huge offers, that reportedly hasn't been the case.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst (h/t RealGM) reported last month that the Nets hadn't gotten any offers to their liking and actually prefer to keep Durant rather than trading him if possible.

The Nets aren't obligated to trade Durant since he is under contract through 2026, but Durant would have the option of forcing their hand by not reporting if he truly doesn't want to play in Brooklyn any longer.

If both parties agree that a trade is for the best, there may be no team in the NBA that is better equipped to put together a big offer for Durant than the Pels.

They are a trendy pick to take a big leap forward in 2022-23 after sneaking into the postseason last season thanks to a core of Ingram, Zion Williamson, CJ McCollum and Jonas Valanciunas.

New Orleans was 36-46 last season after Williamson missed the entire year because of an injury and McCollum not joining the team until a February deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, so there is a ton of room for improvement.

As currently constructed, the Pelicans should be a playoff team next season and have a chance to do some damage during the postseason as well, but Durant would instantly make them championship contenders.

The 33-year-old veteran is a 12-time All-Star, four-time scoring champion, two-time NBA champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP and one-time NBA MVP who continues to play at an elite level.

Although he was limited to 55 games last season because of a knee injury, Durant was fantastic, averaging 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 2.1 three-pointers made.

The Pelicans are building something that could be special, but if they can get Durant for one of their stars, some supporting pieces and draft picks, it is a deal that would be worth making, as it would likely push them into the upper echelon of the Western Conference.

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