NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and More

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2019

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 6: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors and Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets smile during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2019 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Bill Baptist/Getty Images

Kevin Durant is the highest-profile free agent in the 2019 class, but the Golden State Warriors star is now headlining the names involved in NBA trade rumors, too.

Although he'll spend the 2019-20 season recovering from Achilles surgery, Durant remains a coveted player. Even a "redshirt" year shouldn't turn a star-needy franchisesuch as the Brooklyn Nets or New York Knicksaway from pursuing KD.

He might want to leave Golden State anyway, but the franchise may manage to avoid losing him for nothing.

And that would be a major victory in a loss for the Warriors.

While appearing on Get Up, ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported the possibility of a sign-and-trade. The Warriors can offer Durant a five-year max contract that ends up being financially better for him, and they receive a return on his value:

"One of the things that is being discussed right now is that the Golden State Warriors would offer Kevin Durant a five-year contract, $57 million extra than he could get signing elsewhere, let him rehab and then work with him to be traded."

Windhorst added this conversation is a "last-ditch effort" that requires Durant to trust Golden State would actually work out a trade.

The rest of the league can offer a four-year contract, so that option is at least reasonable if Durant prefers to maximize his earning potential while rehabbing a serious injury.

Regardless of one's personal feelings about whether the Warriors would follow through, risk is inherently tied to that. Figuring out the financial aspect of a blockbuster deal can be difficultwith the Chris Paul situation a timely reminder.

He orchestrated a move to the Houston Rockets in 2017, signing a max contract one year later. But after a pair of disappointing postseason exits and a reported disconnect between him and James Harden, the Rockets are already exploring a trade for Paul.

However, his contract is an issue.

Bobby Marks @BobbyMarks42

Cap hit on the Chris Paul contract: 19/20 $38.5M 20/21 $41.4M 21/22 $44.2M

"Who the hell is going to take $124 million with Chris Paul?" a prominent agent told Bleacher Report's Ken Berger.

There are worse problems than keeping an All-Star guard on the roster, but the Rockets may be stuck with a disgruntled veteran alongside the MVP-chasing Harden.

Meanwhile, the Miami Heat should be investigating ways to reduce a self-inflicted clogged salary sheet.

Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press noted Heat president Pat Riley said "there's nothing going on" involving a Whiteside trade. That statement is probably not telling a complete truth, though.

According to HoopsHype, Whiteside is due $27.1 million next season. Few, if any, teams will be willing to accept a contract of that size without substantial compensation. Doing so mere moments before free agency isn't an optimal strategy, either.

Miami could eventually find a new home for Whitesidewho would otherwise be the backup to Bam Adebayobut might need a couple of weeks to discover it.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR