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James Jones: 'Not Much Discussion' on Kevin Durant Trade Between Nets, Suns

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 10, 2022

Al Bello/Getty Images

Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones said the Suns never came close to acquiring Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets this offseason.

Jones told Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic that there was "not much discussion, in-depth discussion" between him and the Nets.

"We had discussions with Brooklyn about their desires and what they were trying to do, but ultimately, I would say like most teams, there was nothing to it," he said.

Durant was made available this offseason after requesting a trade, but the Nets announced last month that they and KD had "agreed to move forward" together.

Durant's business manager, Rich Kleiman, told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski (h/t ESPN's Tim Bontemps) in June that the two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP had requested a trade and the Nets agreed to work with him to find a trade partner.

Wojnarowski noted the Suns and Miami Heat were on Durant's wish list.

Phoenix seemingly had a solid chance to land Durant because it could offer first-round draft picks and center Deandre Ayton.

Ayton was the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft, and he has been highly productive in four seasons, averaging 16.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. He also helped lead the Suns to the NBA Finals in 2021, averaging 15.8 points and 11.8 rebounds during that playoff run.

Despite that, there were question marks regarding Ayton's future with the organization, as he was a restricted free agent.

In mid-July, the Indiana Pacers signed him to a four-year, $132.9 million offer sheet.

The Suns matched it, which rendered them unable to trade him until January, and that may have ended any hope they could trade for Durant.

Had Phoenix acquired the 33-year-old 12-time All-Star, it may have become the championship favorite, as he could have joined Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Mikal Bridges.

The Suns had the best record in the NBA last season, but they suffered a disappointing second-round playoff exit at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks. Now, they are set to enter the 2022-23 campaign with largely the same team.

Meanwhile, the Nets will look to make at least one more run at contending for a championship with a core of Durant and Kyrie Irving plus Ben Simmons, who didn't play last season amid being traded from the Philadelphia 76ers in the James Harden deal.

The Nets were swept out of the first round, but Durant averaged 29.9 points and a career-high 6.4 assists per game during the regular season.

As for Phoenix, the core of Booker, Paul, Ayton and Bridges will look to get past a Golden State Warriors team that won it all last season.

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