Nets Rejected Franchise-Altering Trade for Kevin Durant

Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies and Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets.

Getty Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies and Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets.

The Brooklyn Nets shocked the NBA world when they traded their star forward, Kevin Durant, during the early morning of the NBA trade deadline. Durant got traded to the Western Conference powerhouse, Phoenix Suns, in exchange for a haul that included Cam Johnson, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, and four first-round picks. However, the Nets declined a similar trade offer for Durant when he made his initial trade request last summer.

According to Zach Lowe of ESPN, another team that packaged a pick-heavy offer for Durant was the Memphis Grizzlies. Per Lowe, the Nets were aware since July 2022 that the Grizzlies were willing to part ways with every available draft pick they owned if it landed them Durant.

What’s more baffling is that even after Durant was dealt to the Suns at the deadline, the Grizzlies still wanted to engage in a similar deal with the Nets that would have landed them Mikal Bridges after he got traded to Brooklyn.

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Grizzlies GM Defends Choice to Be “Overly-Aggressive”

In most cases, fans want their team’s general manager to be aggressive around the trade deadline, but as it pertains to Grizzlies general manager Zach Kleiman, there is such a thing as being too aggressive.

Yes, the NBA is all about consistent growth and improvement. However, the Grizzlies already have one of the most talented stables of players in the league, with 2023 All-Stars Jaren Jackson Jr and Ja Morant as well as Desmond Bane, who, in the eyes of many, was an All-Star snub. Adding Durant to that mix could have put too many cooks in the kitchen.

Following the trade deadline, Kleiman defended his decision to be “overly aggressive” in Memphis’ pursuit of an NBA title.

“At any point in time, including this year’s deadline, we were willing to be aggressive to maybe even overly aggressive to get the right player. At this deadline, there were several guys where we made offers that — if they were accepted — y’all would have said ‘wow, you guys went way too far in what you would’ve done there’. We have a lot of guys on this roster we believe in,” Kleiman said on February 11 via ABC24 Memphis.

“If we’re able to monetize those draft picks ahead of time — pre-consolidate, if you will — and push them in for someone you really believe to be a part of the core for years to come, we’re all ready. We still have all these assets, which we have going forward and would have been glad to use at this deadline.”

Ja Morant Doubles Down After Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving Trades

It is common knowledge that Morant is the straw that stirs the drink in Memphis. However, earlier this season, the star point guard put the entire team in hot water. During a sit-down interview with ESPN’s Malika Andrews, the Grizzlies star insinuated that they had no real competition in the Western Conference.

Following the blockbuster deadline deals that had the Nets send Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks and Durant to the Suns, some thought that Morant would regret making those comments. But after Memphis’ loss to the Boston Celtics on February 12, the Grizzlies star doubled down on his statement.

“I don’t care. Honestly. I said what I said, and I mean that,” Morant told reporters on February 12 via “The confidence I had when I said that is the confidence that got us to the point, we’re at now, being a top team in this league.”