Superstar forward Kevin Durant will return to the Brooklyn Nets for his fourth season. But things did not always appear this way. Durant requested a trade from the Nets earlier this summer after inking a 4-year, $198 million extension with the franchise in 2021.
But after a series of trade negotiations that gained little traction, Durant decided that the best option was for him to return to Brooklyn for his fourth season.
When Durant made his initial trade request, the Phoenix Suns were atop his list of preferred destinations. Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports says the investigation and eventual suspension of Suns owner Robert Sarver for his workplace misconduct put Durant’s desire to join the franchise under the microscope.
“When you look at the free agency this summer, it was widely-rumored that Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets was looking to be traded to the Phoenix Suns,” Scoop B said during an appearance on MSNBC with Zerlina Maxwell.
“And so, you saw a lot of chatter on Twitter about ‘is this the team KD really wants to go to’ specifically because he is so pro-black, pro-equality, both he and his Nets teammate Kyrie Irving. So, it is interesting how it would have looked, the optics of it had he been traded to the Phoenix Suns this season.”
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Cam Johnson Sounds off on Durant, Suns Trade Rumors
Durant’s trade demand from the Nets was very real. As one of the most prolific players in NBA history, teams were scrambling at the opportunity to add him to their rosters. Doing so would almost automatically make any team a title contender.
Despite having the number one seed in the Western Conference last season, the Suns entered trade talks for Durant and were willing to give up some of their core pieces to land the Nets star. This included Suns’ wing, Cam Johnson. In an interview with Duane Rankin of AZ Central, Johnson details what it was like hearing his name mentioned in the Durant trade talks.
“I’m sitting in the locker room, and the news breaks. It’s Puff’s teammates, my teammates. I’m like, nah man, don’t put me in this. And next thing you know, whoever it was, Windy (Brian Windhorst) or somebody on the TV was like naming the potential trade targets. Naming DA, me, Mikal. And I was like, come on man,”Johnson said.
“But it’s the business. Like I said, it’s the business. If that’s something that gets done, then that was just part of God’s plan, and you’ve got to keep on rolling.”
Kyrie’s Future in Brooklyn Still Uncertain
Though the Nets and Durant have agreed to move forward with their partnership, the future of their star point guard Kyrie Irving is still looming. Irving will be a free agent in 2023 after he and the Nets could not agree on the terms of a max extension this summer. Because of the uncertainty of Irving’s future in Brooklyn, one Eastern Conference executive believes that there is still a possibility that he could get traded this season.
“If the year is a disappointment early on, then yes, you would at least have to explore the trade market on Kyrie. You won’t get good value because of all the baggage Kyrie has and because it would probably be a short-term rental,” the executive told Heavy’s, Sean Deveney.
“We’ll see how it goes with the Lakers, but if they have a good year and feel like they’re just a Kyrie away from contending next year, they’ll be in a position to get him next summer. So that drags down his trade value.”
This is a big season coming up for the Nets franchise as it pertains to their future. Hopefully, they will be able to compete for a championship.