Nets Linked to Surprising Former No.1 Overall Pick Amid Durant Trade Rumors

Zion Williamson

Getty Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans heads for the net as Joe Harris #12 of the Brooklyn Nets defends in the second half at Barclays Center

Kevin Durant requesting a trade has shook up the entire NBA. Most of this year’s free agency is hinging on what happens with him and the Brooklyn Nets. The two teams that Durant has the most interest in playing for is the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat. However, they have reportedly turned down over four offers from the Suns in a Durant trade. Then the Heat remain unlikely because of the Designated Rookie Extension rule: A team can’t have two players acquired via trade who were signed to that type of extension. Both Ben Simmons and Adebayo are on that contract so Simmons would have to be part of any deal. 

However, KD has already commented that he would want Adebayo on any Heat team he was a part of. 

“Durant, it seems, would only want to play on a Heat team that includes Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry. So even if the Heat were willing to move Butler in a deal as a way of satisfying the Nets’ (understandably pricey) request, doing so would leave Durant discontented from the start,” Sam Amick of The Athletic wrote.

With the two favored destinations likely out for now, it is time to look at any other possible destinations. Oklahoma City has been linked due to the sheer volume of picks they could include. The Toronto Raptors have been reported as lurking as a possibility. The Minnesota Timberwolves were considering Durant before dealing for Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz. However, one of the more surprising links for the Nets has had them mentioned with possibly trading for former number one pick with the New Orleans Pelicans, Zion Williamson. 

Zion Williamson to Brooklyn?

On the July 1 episode of The Ringer’s NBA Show, NBA writer Wosny Lambre talked about who he believes could be at the top of Brooklyn’s list. He was asked which young players the Nets should be looking at for a Durant deal. 

“Well obviously, if I’m Brooklyn, I definitely want to roll the dice on Zion (Williamson.) To me, that’s the number one if I can do that. It’s a young guy that is already very freaking good when he actually plays. Yeah, I think Zion is definitely at the top of that list,” Lambre said

He also included Scottie Barnes on his list. 

An important note in what he said, though, is when he plays. Williamson has only played 85 games in his first three NBA seasons, including 24 during his rookie season in 2019-20. A torn meniscus in his right knee delayed his debut. He missed the entire 2021-22 campaign with a broken right foot. 

Is Williamson still worth consideration from the Nets? He may have the best upside from some of the other offers. You’d certainly rather have him than Deandre Ayton, right? It is hard to say what happens, but it was an interesting and surprising name mentioned. 

Zion Williamson Extension

Williamson was just signed to a five-year, $193 million designated maximum rookie extension that could earn him as much as $231 million, CAA Sports’ co-head of Basketball Austin Brown told ESPN’s, Adrian Wojnarowski. It also would prevent any deals that would see Williamson teaming up with Simmons, just like the Adebayo trade. 

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