Suns Trade Proposal Swaps Kevin Durant for Devin Booker’s Ex-Teammate

Suns stars Kevin Durant and Devin Booker

Getty Kevin Durant #35 and Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns.

While Phoenix Suns‘ general manager James Jones has adamantly said they will not break up their Big 3, will a trade for Karl-Anthony Towns, a dynamic big man, who already has on-court chemistry with Devin Booker budge him?

Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley pushes for a Kevin Durant-Towns swap that theoretically extends their contention window with Booker and ultimately shows to their star guard that this is his franchise.

Minnesota Timberwolves receive: Kevin Durant

Phoenix Suns receive: Karl-Anthony Towns, the No. 27 pick and No. 37 pick

“As for the Suns, they might already feel stuck with the Durant-Devin Booker-Bradley Beal trio, and this would help create a little wiggle room. They’d have additional assets to help flesh out the roster, a tall task as currently constructed since they’re over the second apron.

They might also widen their window by swapping out the 35-year-old Durant for 28-year-old Towns, who has talked about reuniting with former Kentucky teammate Booker,” Buckley wrote.

In a January 3, 2020 appearance on GQ’s YouTube channel, Towns was asked about his thoughts on forming a super team with Booker their other ex-Wildcats teammate D’Angelo Russell.

“Preferably for me, it would be (on) the Timberwolves, so they’ll be in Minnesota, hopefully, one day. I’m gonna speak it into existence. I don’t know if it’ll happen, but I want it to,” Towns said at that time.

But with Anthony Edwards firmly entrenched as the new face of the Timberwolves franchise, Towns could become available depending on who wins in the ugly tug-of-war between incumbent owner Glen Taylor and the group led by Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore.

Karl-Anthony Towns Could Become Available

The Timberwolves appeared on track to reaching the NBA Finals for the first time after they swept the Suns in the opening round of the playoffs. But they fell short in the Western Conference Finals — a loss that could lead to a major shakeup in Minnesota amid their rising payroll.

On April 10, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Rodriguez and Lore eyed payroll cuts which concerned Taylor.

“In documents shared with Taylor, the NBA and The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, Lore and Rodriguez rendered a budget projection as potential majority owners that would’ve lowered the Timberwolves’ payroll to $171 million beginning next season — below the projected $172 million luxury tax threshold, sources told ESPN. The Timberwolves would’ve gone from approximately a $25 million-plus tax payment to a team receiving a tax distribution of approximately $6.5 million,” Wojnarowski wrote.

Kevin Durant ‘Was Not Always’ Happy in Phoenix

After the Suns’ lofty expectations ended in a first-round flameout, a report from The Athletic painted a dissatisfied Durant in Phoenix.

“Durant, among the best scorers in NBA history, was not always happy with how he was used,” The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Doug Haller wrote on April 29. “Sources briefed on the matter told The Athletic that Durant never felt comfortable with his role in Phoenix’s offense alongside [Devin] Booker and [Bradley] Beal this season. Those sources said Durant had persistent issues with the offense, feeling that he was being relegated to the corner far too often and not having the proper designs to play to his strengths as the offense was built around pick-and-rolls.”

The Suns quickly moved and fired Frank Vogel, replacing him with another ex-NBA champion coach Mike Budenholzer with maximizing Durant’s talent in mind.

“I tell you, that’s a constant focus for us to continue to figure out how to maximize Kevin Durant,” Suns GM James Jones said during his exit interview on May 1. “No one has done it yet. I believe we will be the first team to do it because if we can maximize him, we can maximize our entire roster. We’re a better team, but that’s not an issue. I think Kevin had a phenomenal season this year offensively.”