In the end, Durant decided to join Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, and the results have been very mixed. While they’ve largely been more successful than the Knicks, the Nets have had much higher expectations and have come up short each season.
The Knicks have been building slowly through the draft by acquiring names like RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Mitchell Robinson and Obi Toppin, while the Nets built by securing big-name free agents and blockbuster trades.
A season that started with Irving, Durant and James Harden on the roster ended in the same number of playoff wins as the Knicks, so it’s clear changes are needed. With Durant’s trade request looming over the team, perhaps a swap with the Knicks could work out.
Sports Illustrated’s Dalton Trigg suggests sending Durant to the Knicks in exchange for an absolutely massive haul that would land the former number three pick in RJ Barrett along with seven first-round picks. It’s a big deal, but it could work.
Knicks Franchise for Durant
The Knicks are in the running for Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, and while the asking price for him is steep, it’s likely nowhere close to what the Nets are asking for Durant.
Trigg’s proposed deal would see the Knicks sending an eye-popping seven first-rounders to the Nets along with the bulk of their young core for the Nets star.
- Knicks Receive: Kevin Durant
- Nets Receive: Julius Randle, R.J. Barrett, Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, seven of the eight first-round picks the Knicks are capable of trading and two pick swaps
For the Nets, it’s tough to find a deal that gets any better than that as they’d land a former All-Star in Randle, a possible star in Barrett, high-energy bench performers in Toppin and Quickley, and then seven picks.
The Knicks would be getting Durant, easily the best player in the trade, but it’d cost them a ton, and it’s tough to envision that happening for them. Trigg believes it’d make New York into a title contender.
“Taking a chance on an aging superstar is always risky, because you never know when that player will start to decline,” he wrote. “However, if the Knicks want to become legitimate title contenders as soon as possible, they need to push in all the chips for Durant. What the Knicks have to offer still might not be enough for the Nets, but it’s an offer that, at the very least, should be officially made.”
Rough Deal for the Knicks
Getting a superstar is tough to do in the NBA, and the Knicks know that difficulty quite well. However, giving up this much for one might not be in the cards.
If the Knicks did this, the starting lineup could look something like this:
- PG: Jalen Brunson
- SG: Quentin Grimes
- SF: Evan Fournier
- PF: Kevin Durant
- C: Mitchell Robinson
While that seems like it’d be enough to make the playoffs, it’s hard to envision it being a championship contender unless additional moves are made. Remember, the Nets were swept by the Celtics despite having both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant on the floor.