Nets Targeted Raptors Star to Potentially Ease Kevin Durant Rift: Report

Kevin Durant, formerly of the Brooklyn Nets.

Getty Kevin Durant, formerly of the Brooklyn Nets.

For those who are tardy to the party, the Brooklyn Nets shocked the world at the NBA trade deadline and dealt their star forward Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns for a haul that included three players and a multitude of NBA Draft picks. Though the Nets satisfied Durant’s trade request, owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks made one final push to get him to reconsider his decision. According to ESPN NBA insider Zach Lowe, the Nets tried to pull off a deal to acquire Toronto Raptors star Pascal Siakam, who Durant was very high on.

“I’m not going to name who those names are, but I think that’s a conversation that was had. They tried to get Pascal Siakam now in the intervening 96 hours because Kevin Durant made it known he likes Pascal Siakam. He thought he would be a good fit,” Lowe said on the February 9 episode of the “Lowe Post” podcast.

“Brooklyn appeared to realize a trade with Phoenix was inevitable once they couldn’t land Siakam.”

Lowe also said the Nets tried to convince Durant to stay by guaranteeing him they would land a big-name player this summer during the 2023 NBA free agency period.

“I think they told him, ‘Hey man, in the summer, we can get some big names. There are going to be some big names who might ask out. We are going to collect stuff to give ourselves a shot at it,’” he added.

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Sean Marks Sounds off on Kevin Durant Trade

Durant was the lone All-Star left on the Nets roster following the Kyrie Irving trade. And a few days after Irving was gone, Brooklyn had pulled off another blockbuster deal to send Durant to Phoenix.

The Nets sending Durant to Phoenix, of all places, says a lot. For what it’s worth, Brooklyn could have gotten more substantial trade packages from other teams. But instead, they traded Durant to the Suns, his preferred destination dating back to last summer.

Now that the dust has settled and the Nets are ushering in a new era, general manager Sean Marks says trading Durant to Phoenix gave the Nets the “best path forward”.

“After a thorough evaluation of the best path forward, we believe making this trade now positions the franchise for long-term success,” Marks said on February 9.

“Mikal and Cam are elite, ascending, versatile wings, plus the draft capital provides us additional avenues to continue to acquire talent. We remain steadfast in our commitment to building the team Brooklyn deserves. We are excited to welcome Mikal, Cam, and their families to Brooklyn and thank Kevin for the moments and memories he delivered our fanbase.”

Jacque Vaugh Gets Honest on Nets ‘Ceiling’

The superstar era in Brooklyn is over now that Durant, Kyrie, and James Harden have moved on to other franchises. Even though it could be a while before the Nets have another representative in the All-Star game, they have compiled a collection of talent that could keep them in contention for years to come.

The Nets’ situation is truly the definition of a fresh start, and head coach Jacque Vaughn knows there will be a feeling-out process before they know the true potential of the team.

“Yeah, I think overall I don’t know what the ceiling is,” Vaughn said after the Nets’ win over the Chicago Bulls on February 9.

“We’re gonna try to dig in and grind every single day to get the most out of this group. I talked to the group about the expectations of winning every day and every piece of your fiber has to be dedicated towards doing your job as a teammate. So, we’re gonna challenge these dudes, man, and try to get the most out of them and see what happens.”