What’s the Most Attention-grabbing End result of the Kevin Durant Saga?

What’s the Most Attention-grabbing End result of the Kevin Durant Saga?

It’s been almost 5 weeks since Kevin Durant despatched shock waves by means of the NBA after reportedly requesting a commerce from the Brooklyn Nets. However regardless of an limitless provide of rumors, buzz, and headlines ever since, Durant stays with the group as commerce talks have seemingly stalled.

The 33-year-old ahead remains to be one of the crucial coveted gamers within the league, however the huge bounty of gamers and picks the Nets are reportedly requesting is a tricky bar to fulfill for any group. Thus far, no suitor has made a beautiful sufficient supply for Brooklyn to drag off a deal. And with Durant underneath contract by means of the 2025-26 season, the Nets star doesn’t have a lot leverage to drive his entrance workplace’s hand to ship him elsewhere.

So how will the Durant saga play out? Will we be caught on this limbo ceaselessly? The Ringer surveyed its NBA writers and requested them what can be probably the most attention-grabbing consequence of the KD commerce talks.

Rob Mahoney: Nets

The Durant sweepstakes have gone to date across the bend that the probably consequence at this level is that the famous person participant within the famous person’s league gained’t really get what he needs. It’s fairly bizarre that Durant remains to be a Web greater than a month after asking to be traded, with out the slightest indication {that a} deal may very well be coming quickly. It’ll be stranger nonetheless if (or when?) he studies to camp with Brooklyn this fall, presumably alongside Assumed Laker Kyrie Irving because the residing embodiments of the group’s purgatory state.

Is a superteam nonetheless a superteam if its stars are determined to be someplace else? Who is aware of, however even when not, would any of the rumblings over the previous month actually stop Brooklyn from shrugging into competition anyway? Durant, Irving, some model of Ben Simmons, and a number of high quality position gamers makes for a reasonably formidable group—even when it’s solely held collectively by the grace of a posh commerce market. Each group needs Durant. But few can really afford the price of buying and selling for him, and proper now, even these few don’t appear particularly desperate to pay the hefty value. So Durant will probably be a Web till one thing budges, in a transitory state till he’s instantly not.

Because it seems, probably the most fascinating consequence of a commerce request from among the finest gamers within the sport is to get no actual decision in any respect. Including KD to any group would vault them up the aggressive ranks, giving immediate credibility to their championship desires. We all know roughly what it could imply for him to hitch the Suns or the Warmth and even the Celtics. What we don’t know is whether or not him beginning the season in Brooklyn would imply something in any respect. As we kicked round potential commerce packages that might ship Durant to this group or that, perhaps we ignored the escape hatch that would result in some type of appeasement. There might nonetheless be a means for KD to be content material as a Web—or perhaps simply to look in order he performs out his partnership with the group, with all concerned ready out the right return.

It may be a drag to maintain up with a chronic commerce saga (minimize to Simmons, whose ask to be shipped out of Philly hung within the air lengthy sufficient to show rancid), however each case can’t assist however educate us issues concerning the folks concerned. We study one thing about Durant by whether or not he exhibits up for camp. By whether or not he participates, and whether or not Irving follows go well with. By how he interacts together with his teammates. In whether or not he finally fits up for normal season video games, and what he’s keen to take a position if he does. We’ve seen Durant work by means of almost each basketball state of affairs possible in his 14 seasons within the NBA. Now, due to all this mess, we get to look at him sort out one thing fully new.

Seerat Sohi: Celtics

In a group’s improvement course of, no stage is extra fragile than the try and go from nice to larger. To tinker and evolve with out shedding the elements that fueled its success. It seemed just like the Celtics threaded that needle completely this summer time by buying and selling for Malcolm Brogdon, a gradual table-setting guard to mood their turnover-prone offense, and signing Danilo Gallinari. However with Kevin Durant on the commerce block, the temptation is powerful, they usually’re going through this dilemma as soon as once more.

In 2018, the Raptors traded DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard and took on a number of messy iterations earlier than finally profitable a championship. However the season earlier than, the Celtics crashed and burned after attempting to hit the improve button by dealing Isaiah Thomas for Kyrie Irving. Boston is aware of higher than most how totally different these trades can look on paper versus in actuality.

The Celtics have reportedly supplied Jaylen Brown, their de facto no. 2, who’s eight years youthful than Durant, however the Nets additionally need Marcus Sensible, Boston’s greatest perimeter communicator, and the reigning Defensive Participant of the 12 months who shepherds their hard-nosed id.

Would shedding Brown and/or Sensible knock them down a peg defensively, or would Durant’s pairing with Ime Udoka reignite the multifaceted defensive monster that dominated with the Warriors?

The unanswerable query of how these intangibles measure up towards Durant’s sheer expertise is fascinating. So is the prospect of a Celtics-Warriors Finals rematch with Durant in inexperienced and white.

Kevin O’Connor: Pelicans

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst stated in early July that the Pelicans hoped head coach Willie Inexperienced, who was an assistant when Durant was with the Warriors, would have the chance to “promote the imaginative and prescient that they’ve” to KD. I’d think about it’d go one thing like: “Kevin, think about for those who substitute Brandon Ingram and get an opportunity to play subsequent to a wholesome Zion Williamson. You, Zion, and CJ McCollum can be the most effective scoring trio within the league. Herb Jones would defend the opponent’s greatest gamers so you possibly can play everywhere in the flooring such as you did with us in Golden State. We will go small with you three, plus Larry Nance, and now we have the bigs to match up towards anybody. And we might nonetheless have leftover property to enhance the group within the coming years even after getting you. We’re set as much as contend now and deep into your 30s. This metropolis is prepared for a championship and you’ll lead us there.”

There isn’t a greater pure basketball match for KD than New Orleans. That’s, so long as Williamson stays wholesome. However the Pelicans suppose he’s coming again 100% subsequent season. There are Pelicans followers who’d reasonably hold Ingram and sit on their picks for the subsequent star to change into out there. And it is sensible to an extent contemplating Ingram is a 24-year-old All-Star. I as soon as stated the Lakers must be cautious about transferring him for Kawhi Leonard again when he needed out of San Antonio.

At this stage, although, Ingram would have to be the centerpiece of any commerce for the Nets to think about making a deal. The Pelicans have so much extra to supply with 13 future first-round picks and 4 gamers drafted within the first spherical since 2019: middle Jaxson Hayes, guard Kira Lewis, ahead Trey Murphy, and guard/wing Dyson Daniels. It wouldn’t be shocking if the Nets needed Jones, or Jose Alvarado, or Devonte’ Graham, as effectively. Backside line, New Orleans has a ton it could possibly supply and would nonetheless have loads of expertise and items left over to enhance KD. Becoming a member of Williamson now may very well be sorta like tagging together with Joel Embiid in 2017, after he missed his first two seasons then performed solely 31 video games as a rookie. Embiid was nearly to blossom right into a megastar, and whereas he hasn’t had good well being since, he’s finished sufficient to guide his group to the playoffs each single yr. The worst of Zion’s harm woes may very well be prior to now. KD and Zion can be a real drive.

Zach Kram: Warriors

Let’s look at three fast questions on this situation …

1. Can the Warriors really commerce for Durant? The reply here’s a definitive sure: With Andrew Wiggins to match salaries, a number of intriguing younger gamers—Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, James Wiseman—and all however one in every of their future first-round picks nonetheless round, Golden State can put collectively an intriguing package deal to entice the Nets.

2. Ought to the Warriors really commerce for Durant? Once more, the reply in concept is a definitive sure. The reigning champs are targeted on profitable as many titles as they’ll within the Steph Curry period, and Durant would symbolize a sufficiently important improve over Wiggins to extend the present group’s ceiling. In spite of everything, he as soon as changed Harrison Barnes and helped Curry and Co. win a pair of titles.

3. Will the Warriors really commerce for Durant? Right here we slam into a probable no, nevertheless. The Warriors appear content material with their younger gamers and simply gained a title with out Durant. Regardless of how a lot such a commerce can be like poetry, rhyming with what got here earlier than, it’s arduous to think about Golden State really bringing Durant again.

Dan Devine: Grizzlies

Hey, the place it’d be enjoyable to see Kevin Durant play basketball subsequent season?

I pitched the Grizzlies as a possible KD commerce vacation spot final month, as a result of it’s good to think about enjoyable issues, and it’s awfully enjoyable to consider Memphis filling its wing gap between children Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. with one of many biggest and most versatile scorers within the recreation’s historical past.

Morant doesn’t shoot it like Kyrie Irving does, however his electrical recreation and preternatural playmaking would match simply as neatly subsequent to Durant. Jackson supplies the last-line-of-defense shot-blocking and mistake-erasing to assist decrease the affect of an growing older KD shedding a step in protection. The Grizzlies ranked fourth in factors scored per possession final season, fueled by their elite transition recreation, however they typically struggled to supply when the sport slowed down, ending simply twenty second in half-court offensive effectivity. Including Durant, a digital guarantor of elite half-court-scoring precision, would go a good distance towards fixing that drawback, notably within the postseason. Memphis fell to the Warriors within the second spherical of the playoffs thanks largely to its offense short-circuiting in Video games 4 and 6; as Golden State is aware of all too effectively, there’s no “in case of bucket-getting emergency, break glass” possibility finer than Durant.

In concept, Memphis has the mix of projectable younger expertise and draft capital to assemble a deal price Sean Marks’s whereas. In follow, although, constructing a swap that retains Brooklyn afloat as a contender and permits the Grizzlies to nonetheless have sufficient round Ja to contend is fairly difficult.

May Jackson plus Dillon Brooks and a boatload of picks get it finished, offered the Nets really feel snug with JJJ’s long-term prognosis after his recent foot surgery? If Jackson’s an excessive amount of of a query mark, may a bigger deal headlined by rising star Desmond Bane, Brooks, picks, swaps, and the $28 million in expiring contracts of Steven Adams and Danny Inexperienced pique Marks’s curiosity? If Brooklyn’s lifeless set on getting off of the $38.6 million owed to Joe Harris over the subsequent two seasons, would an empty-the-cupboard package deal—Bane, Brooks, Adams, Inexperienced, 2021 first-round choose Ziaire Williams, plus sufficient picks and different low cost younger gamers to make the maths work—get the Nets to sure? And, even when it did, might Memphis really feel assured that what’s left round its new large three can be adequate to take one other step ahead in what guarantees to be an much more brutal Western Convention?

The reply to all of these questions might be no. But it surely’s August, the place desires take flight, and the imaginative and prescient of a Ja-KD-JJJ trio whooping all kinds of methods is just too attractive to let die on the vine of plausibility.

Isaac Levy-Rubinett: Thunder

Let me first lay out why Durant-to-OKC, from a purely hypothetical standpoint, is sensible. The marketplace for Durant appears to be in considerably of a holding sample, and Brooklyn could not have the ability to web the type of blue-chip, younger All-NBA expertise it seeks. So pivot to the group with limitless draft capital, recoup as many picks as attainable, and be in your merry means—the equal of a listerine rinse for the NBA’s most exhausting franchise. I know the Thunder have one thing good going already. Chet Holmgren, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, and Josh Giddey make up a tantalizing and pleasant core. However who else is sweet and tantalizing and pleasant? Kevin Durant! Skeptics argue that buying and selling for KD would prematurely interrupt what has to date been a promising rebuild in OKC, and that Durant’s presence wouldn’t even elevate the Thunder to quick competition within the West. However Durant is underneath contract for 4 extra years. With OKC’s rising expertise and the anticipated sleek decline of Durant’s silky recreation, the Thunder can’t solely count on to contend earlier than Durant hits free company but additionally view him as an accelerant and mentor of their rebuild reasonably than an finish level. The logistics of the commerce would show troublesome, what with matching salaries and all, however that’s what GMs are for—and SGA is just not off the desk.

Durant in OKC can be a celestial mix of chaos, stability, and intrigue. KD left the Thunder in 2016 for brand new experiences—to study, to develop, to win, to evolve, to seek out himself. I don’t know whether or not he achieved the latter, however he took care of every little thing else, and now his former group might present the right state of affairs to play out the again 9 of his profession—away from saboteurs, drama, nationwide media, and the like. Give attention to basketball. Mentor the younger’uns. Win, ultimately. Run towering pick-and-rolls with Holmgren. Bury the hatchet with Thunder followers. Take a non-public jet to New York at your leisure. However most significantly, write your individual profession story and put your stamp on a franchise in a means you’ve at all times appeared to need however by no means been in a position to obtain.

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