The Brooklyn Nets and superstar forward Kevin Durant are still navigating through the trade request the 12-time All-Star made to the team in June. The Nets agreed to grant Durant his trade request but have been stern in not pulling the trigger on a blockbuster deal unless the return they receive for their franchise player is substantial.
So far, the Nets have not had any serious traction on a trade for their superstar, and there is a growing belief he will not get traded before NBA training camp starts in the fall. But amid the drama between Durant and the Nets, a new team has entered the fray for the two-time NBA Finals MVP. NBA insider Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports says that the Philadelphia 76ers have emerged as a serious suitor to land the Nets star.
“76ers feelings on a Kevin Durant pairing are mutual, I’m told,” Scoop B tweeted on August 11. “Per someone in the know to [Bally Sports], “That s*** is real. When KD made that ultimatum, the Sixers were right on the phone.”
But would KD be cut out to deal with the Philadelphia faithful?
Philadelphia native and comedian Clint Coley doesn’t think so. During an Instagram Live session hosted by Bovada, Coley told Scoop B that Durant doesn’t have the ‘mental toughness’ to play for the Sixers.
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Sixers, Nets Deal Makes Sense for Both Sides
The Sixers may seem like an unlikely entrant in the Durant sweepstakes. But if the Nets’ ultimate goal is to offload their franchise star for a substantial return, a Sixers-Nets blockbuster deal makes all of the sense in the world.
For one, the Nets and Sixers have previously engaged in a blockbuster deal. For those who may be tardy to the party, the two teams made a deal at last years trade deadline that sent James Harden to Philly and Ben Simmons to the Nets.
Secondly, the Sixers have a bevy of assets that could land the Nets in a position to be among the top contenders. Although James Harden and Joel Embiid are likely to be deemed untouchable, Philadelphia has a young star on the rise in Tyrese Maxey, who averaged 17.5 points per game while shooting 42.7% from beyond the arc in just his second season.
In addition, while he may be up there in age, veteran PJ Tucker is still one of the NBA’s best ‘glue guys’. In three of the last four NBA seasons, Tucker has appeared in either a conference final or NBA Finals, becoming a first-time NBA champion with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021 as he was one of their best defenders during that title run. To sweeten the pot, Tucker just inked a three-year deal so he would be in Brooklyn long-term.
Nets Have All the Leverage in Looming Durant Deal
The reality of Durant’s trade request is the Nets hold all the leverage in a potential deal. Last summer, the Nets star inked a 4-year/ $198 million max contract extension that kicks in this coming season.
Simply put, the Nets are not obligated to trade Durant under any circumstance. It is quite the opposite, as he committed to Brooklyn long-term and has changed course just a year later. So, as it pertains to his trade request, Durant has little say in what team he gets sent to.
As the NBA offseason progresses to the start of training camp, the Nets are no closer to making a deal for Durant than when he made his request at the top of the free agency period. His best bet may be staying with the franchise.