Exclusive: Proposed ‘Earthquake’ Trade Would Send Nets’ Kevin Durant to Lakers

Kevin Durant Trade

Getty LeBron James would love to play with Kevin Durant.

In the NBA’s player empowerment era, it seems we’re always just a few days away from another superstar demanding a trade. This time, the superstar is the Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant.

Recent rumblings indicate that Durant is not thrilled with the state of the franchise. Could Durant force his way out of Brooklyn to team up with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers? One NBA executive said it can’t be ruled out.

In a conversation with Heavy NBA insider Sean Deveney, a Western Conference general manager discussed the possibility of an “earthquake kind of trade” between the Lakers and Nets, giving it a “slim chance” but also saying they “never say never in this league.”

“If Durant wants to go to the Lakers, that gets harder,” the general manager told Heavy. “He is signed through [2026] so you’ve got to make a trade and the only thing they can do would be [the Lakers’] Anthony Davis for KD. I think LeBron feels some responsibility for getting Davis to Los Angeles and he wants that to work, so there’s not much chance they would trade him.”

The Nets’ other major offseason storyline surrounds Kyrie Irving’s future with the team. He has a player option on the final year of his four-year contract. He has until June 29 to decide on whether to pick up the option and return to the Nets. According to a June 6 story by The New York Post’s Bryan Lewis, “both Nets and league sources told The Post an extension is more likely.”

If Irving stays in Brooklyn, the Western Conference GM said, a Nets-Lakers deal could have a greater likelihood of happening.

“But if Davis can go play with Kyrie, who he is close with, maybe that changes the math on that,” the general manager told Deveney. “It’s an earthquake kind of trade, and it’s a slim chance. But if Durant is really unhappy and they can get everyone on the same page, maybe it works for everyone. Never say never in this league.”

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Whatever slim chance this scenario plays out, the Lakers would have to move Davis for the team to have any conversations about landing Durant. Los Angeles would also likely need to attach multiple draft picks in the unlikely deal.

The league exec pointed to the “never say never” climate of the NBA because this time last year, the idea that the Nets would trade James Harden seemed preposterous.

Front Office Sports’ Anthony Puccio noted that Irving leaving the Nets would “open the door for KD to demand out.”

“It’s common knowledge that Durant is committed to playing with Kyrie Irving,” Puccio tweeted on May 25. “Letting him walk would only open the door for KD to demand out. [Nets general manager Sean] Marks is playing with fire if he can’t find a middle ground with Kyrie.”

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The Durant rumors started to swirl after New York Daily News’ Kristian Winfield’s May 24 report that the superstar had not spoken with the Nets’ front office since being swept out of the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs by the Boston Celtics.

“That’s a first-round exit at best — if Durant stays to see it, and according to multiple sources, Durant and the Nets front office have not spoken since they were swept out of the first round,” Winfield wrote. “In layman’s terms, if Irving leaves the Nets, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Durant becomes frustrated with the organization’s ability to put championship pieces around him. They failed to do so at the beginning of last season, with none of their top offseason acquisitions — James Johnson, DeAndre Bembry or Jevon Carter — finishing the year in Brooklyn.”

Durant’s four-year, $194 million contract extension, which goes into effect this year, commits the star to Brooklyn until the summer of 2026. It would be a big jump to say Durant will demand a trade, but the situation could escalate if the Nets are unable to re-sign Irving this offseason.

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