The Brooklyn Nets are stuck in a tough spot as they have to figure out how to navigate the remainder of the offseason while dealing with Kevin Durant’s trade request.
Durant made the request on June 30, and there was next to no traction on a potential trade since then, but the superstar forward reiterated his desire to be traded during a meeting with team owner Joe Tsai.
In doing so, Durant gave the Nets an ultimatum of either trading him or firing both coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks. With the Nets unlikely to give in to his demand, it seems like a trade is the most likely possibility of the two.
On August 10, Durant added two additional teams to his initial preferred landing spots of the Heat or the Suns. According to SNY’s Ian Begley, Durant has now widened his options to include both the Celtics and the Sixers.
“So what happens now? Well, it’s worth noting that, in addition to Boston, Durant also sees Philadelphia as another welcome landing spot, per people familiar with the matter,” Begley wrote.
Building on top of that, NBA reporter Frank Isola reports the forward is open to a reunion with former teammate James Harden, so it appears that any bad blood the two may have had is behind them.
Sixers Look Like a Real Possibility
Durant and Harden were spotted together at a Travis Scott concert before this news came out, so fans might’ve already suspected something was up.
“It’s hard to follow at times but yes Kevin Durant would like to play with James Harden, who was in London with Durant around the time Durant met with Nets ownership,” wrote Isola. “(Maybe Harden, an expert at forcing trades, is serving as an advisor.)”
When Harden was traded, reporters asked the superstar about the decision, and Durant wished him the best.
“You try and look at it from his perspective, look up, and Kai’s [Kyrie Irving] not playing, and then I’m injured,” he said at the time. “He hasn’t won a championship before … he’s 32 years old. Looking at himself, wanted to make a decision to get on a team that can kind of get him to that … one of the last teams standing.”
With Joel Embiid almost certainly not being included in any trade talks with the Nets, the Sixers might not have the desired pieces to make a reunion possible, but there should be enough to at least have a discussion.
What Could the Sixers Offer?
The Nets are looking for a big haul in return for their superstar, so that would mean Brooklyn will want to get at least Tyrese Maxey in any deal. The Sixers could toss in Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle to get a deal done, and when that’s paired with a handful of draft picks, a decent package is in place.
Harris is being paid like he’s the star of a team, but he’s essentially become the fourth option in Philadelphia, so taking on his contract could be a tough sell. Landing Maxey will be good for the Nets if that’s possible, and Thybulle is known for his strong defense, but he’s struggled with his shot throughout his career.
Two blockbuster trades with the same teams in under a year would be strange to see, but this seems like it could actually happen if the two sides do come to an agreement. It seems like Durant wants it to happen, and that could leave the Nets out of options.
A Big 3 with Durant, Irving and Harden didn’t work, so perhaps one consisting of Embiid in place of Irving could.