In a November 16 article called “Realistic Landing Spots If Kevin Durant Revisits Trade Request,” Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus proposed a trade that lands Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons on the Los Angeles Lakers for Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn, Patrick Beverley and two future draft picks.
Pincus’ column came in the wake of Durant’s interview with Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report where the two-time Finals MVP revealed the details of his trade request from the Brooklyn Nets over the summer. Pincus believes the Lakers and Nets could strike a deal if Durant requests a trade again.
“Few teams can take in both Durant and Simmons—would the Nets be open to clearing all that money for expiring players like Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn and Patrick Beverley? The Lakers don’t have the volume of firsts like the top teams on this list, but the two selections are well after the LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Durant and Simmons’ contracts expire,” Pincus wrote. “The Nets could reach $71-$81 million in cap room this summer.”
Under CBA rules, the Lakers can trade Westbrook, Nunn, Beverley and draft picks to the Nets for Durant and Simmons. Durant is making $42.9 million this season and will have earned more than $498 million in NBA money when his current contract expires after the 2025-26 campaign. Meanwhile, Simmons is making $35.4 million this year and will have accumulated more than $203 million when his contract is over following the 2024-25 season.
The Lakers Could Win Multiple Titles With Durant
Durant, 34, is one of the greatest players in NBA history. The Lakers could win multiple championships if they had KD next to All-Stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Durant is fourth in NBA history in points per game, James is fifth and Davis is 21st. The three future Hall of Famers are both dominant and efficient, as James is second all-time in player efficiency rating, Davis is fourth and Durant is ninth.
The Lakers could start Simmons, Lonnie Walker IV, Durant, James and Davis. That’s a dynamic starting five with defense, shooting, playmaking and scoring. Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale thinks Durant, who is averaging 30.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists this season, has the “clout” to end up on the Lakers if that’s where he wants to be. The 12-time All-Star is arguably the second-biggest star in the NBA behind James.
“Regardless, if he wants to end up in L.A., he has the clout to make it happen,” Favale wrote on November 9. “And the Lakers wouldn’t need to think twice if the Nets have already agreed to send him where he wants to go.”
Execs Are Monitoring Durant’s Temperature
According to Haynes, NBA executives are monitoring Durant’s temperature in hopes of another trade request. The Nets are 6-9 and lost their last game on November 15 to the Sacramento Kings by 32 points.
“Look at our starting lineup. Edmond Sumner, Royce O’Neale, Joe Harris, [Nic] Claxton and me. It’s not disrespect, but what are you expecting from that group?” Durant told Haynes. “You expect us to win because I’m out there. So if you’re watching from that lens, you’re expecting us to play well because No. 7 is out there.”
The Lakers have the second-worst record in the Western Conference at 3-10. Their fortunes would change dramatically if Durant was in Los Angeles playing with James and Davis.