The Los Angeles Lakers missed out on trading for Kyrie Irving for ridiculous reasons but it might not be the last megastar that the Brooklyn Nets move before the trade deadline. After trading Kyrie, the door is open for the Nets to also trade Kevin Durant this season.
Brooklyn is not going to outright shop Durant at the deadline but in seeing the direction of the team, the former MVP could demand a trade in a fashion similar to his former teammate. At that point, the Nets would have no other option than to trade Durant and get as many assets as possible.
The Lakers are not the first team that jumps off the page as a potential landing spot and they might not even have the best offer value-wise for the Nets. That being said, superstars in the league have more pull than ever and if Durant wanted to be a Laker, there is a good chance he could become a Laker.
If that were to happen (we still have not heard any concrete news on the Durant front from his camp), then the trade package builds itself.
This is a massive trade not only because it includes Kevin Durant but because of all the pieces that are going back to the Brooklyn Nets. There are a lot of moving pieces in this trade for both sides, and various reasons to add specific players to the deal.
It is a lot to digest for both fanbases and while it might not be the best possible return the Nets could get for Durant, it is a realistic one if he demands that he goes to Los Angeles.
Why the Brooklyn Nets could say yes to this Kevin Durant trade:
Brooklyn would at least have to make some sacrifices for Durant, which might not seem super likely after the team essentially negotiated in bad faith with the Lakers around Kyrie Irving. That being said, Durant hasn’t burned the Nets as much as Kyrie, so there might be more willingness to give him what he wants.
It might not be the best possible return for Durant but it is still a nice return for a player who was shopped over the summer and did not warrant any significant offers. In this trade, Brooklyn gets the two most coveted first-round picks on the trade market this offseason while also getting two pick swaps in 2028 and 2030 that are incredibly valuable.
This is not quite as much as Brooklyn doled out for James Harden two years ago but Durant is much older now and has injury concerns. Brooklyn might be better off getting these four picks rather than getting 5-6 picks from a team like Memphis, who will almost certainly pick in the 20s every year.
Brooklyn also gets the added benefit of throwing Joe Harris into the deal to get his contract off the books for next season. Harris is making $19.9 million next season and has had a down year.
Why the Los Angeles Lakers could say yes to this Kevin Durant trade:
It is Kevin Durant. Yes, the Lakers would be heavily selling the team’s future but they would be getting one of the 15 best players of all time who is still playing at an MVP level. As long as they can stay healthy, the trio of Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Kevin Durant is poised to win the title over the next three seasons.
The Lakers still have a first-round pick (they could get their own pick back from New Orleans) in 2023. New Orleans then gets either the team’s 2024 or 2025 pick, not both. Los Angeles will pick in the first round three times in the next four drafts, making it much easier to convince itself of trading four first-round picks for Durant.
Sure, it would suck losing young talent but Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV are free agents after this season anyway. Harris is a big contract to absorb but he can still knock down threes when he is at his best, so it is a cost worth absorbing.