Nets Blockbuster Deal Hits Significant Roadblock

Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook

Getty Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving warm up during the NBA All-Star Game 2018

Two–time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant has officially requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. After the past three seasons being filled with turmoil, he has decided it is time to move on from the franchise. 

Durant, a 12-time All-Star already has multiple teams putting together packages for potentially the biggest blockbuster trade in NBA history. Among those suitors is his former team, the Golden State Warriors according to Marc J. Spears of ESPN. 

“It’s no surprise to me that Warriors have interest in Kevin Durant, according to sources,” Spears tweeted on July 3.“So does more than half the league. It’s KEVIN DURANT. You better make the call if you’re an NBA GM. It’s KEVIN DURANT.”

However, Marcus Thompson of “The Athletic” was quick to shut down what might be the greatest reunion in the history of sports. The insider says the Warriors are not interested in paying the Nets’ asking price for the All-NBA forward. 

“According to multiple sources in the Warriors organization, a reunion is highly unlikely. Nothing about the last three years suggests the Warriors would be willing to pay the price for a KD return,” Thompson writes. “That price is likely (and reportedly) an All-Star-caliber player, young talent, and a heap of draft picks.”

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Warriors Stars ‘Open’ to Reunion With Durant

In addition, the Warriors’ current position is not the same as when they acquired Durant in 2016. Back then they were coming off a monumental collapse to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. This time around, the Warriors are the defending NBA champions. And having contributing players such as Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, and Moses Moody, none of whom are older than 21 years old, Golden State could be in a position to be title contenders for years to come. 

“This isn’t a case where the Warriors stars are pressing the front office to go acquire Durant. Sources made it clear they are fine defending their title with Wiggins, Poole, and the young players they’ve been grooming to win with them. But if the universe somehow sets it up so legends reunite, they’d be open to it,” Thompson writes. 

The insider also notes, albeit preliminary, that Durant has had conversations with his former Warriors teammates about a potential reunion.

“The Warriors superstars have been in conversations with Durant. In addition to catching up, the Hall of Fame-bound peers did entertain the idea of a reunion,” Thompson writes.

“It was mostly about the stunning nature of it even being possible. The idea of them playing together again had to seem impossible when Durant left in free agency in 2019. It isn’t lost on them how life has contrived an opportunity for them to come full circle. They see it, like everyone else, and talked about it, like everyone else.”

Thompson, Green Contracts Could Hold up Durant Reunion

Another thing Thompson notes could hold up a potential reunion between the Warriors and Durant is the expiring contracts of Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Two core players who have played a major part in the Warriors’ four titles since 2015. 

And after letting both Otto Porter Jr. and Gary Payton ll walk in free agency, it appears that Warriors’ owner Joe Lacob is being a lot more frugal with his NBA wallet these days. Already having superstar Stephen Curry on a supermax deal, adding another one in Durant, could make it extremely difficult to ink Thompson and Green to similar contracts. 

“As far as Thompson and Green, their contracts expire after the 2023-24 season. So they would have to be extended to give this quartet more than two years. That figures to be an astronomical price point for four players,” Thompson continues. 

“Lacob showed this offseason there is a limit to how much he’s willing to spend. So in order to keep all of those players, they’d have to surround them with cheaper deals or commit to more historic luxury tax penalties.”

The Warriors have a chance to compete for titles for years to come with their team as currently constructed. But if you have a chance to land an all-time great player like Durant, you better swing for the fences. 

 READ NEXT: Kevin Durant ‘In Conversations’ With Steph Curry, Warriors on Blockbuster Trade

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