It has been a hectic start to the season for both the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets. Neither of these teams has lived up to their lofty expectations to start the season with the Sixers’ record sitting at 8-8 and the Nets’ at 8-9. Each team has faced its own individual challenges and looking to ensure they are on the right track moving forward. Coming off an offseason in which Kevin Durant requested a trade and under two weeks since Steve Nash was fired, rumors of a potential blockbuster deal have not died down. Considering the Sixers’ win-now window and Daryl Morey’s reputation of making a big splash in the trade market, plenty have theorized there could be some discussions around the Nets superstar.
Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney spoke with an anonymous Eastern Conference executive to attempt to get to the bottom of this. The executive toned down the potential hype for this and stated, “The Nets are not at that point yet. They have gotten some signs of life from (Ben) Simmons and they can still get right back into the mix in the East because a lot of those teams have been soft to start the year. But the Sixers are one of the teams who would be keeping an eye on what’s going on there.”
Could Durant be Traded?
It seems pretty clear at this point that the game plan for the Brooklyn Nets organization has not gone 100% according to plan. James Harden forced his way out of the organization following his frustrations with the inconsistent availability of the other two stars. This worked out for the Sixers, but one would think they are not itching to negotiate with Philadelphia again.
This was also uncovered by Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney who was told by an anonymous executive, “There is no doubt the Sixers have asked on Durant, they did in the summer, and will keep asking about him. But the Nets are going to be a little put off by them already because of the Ben Simmons thing because they feel like they were set up to give away James Harden all along. So the Sixers burned them once, do the Nets want to go back and say, OK, sure, we’ll do a KD deal, too.”
Why Deal Doesn’t Make Sense
While pairing Durant with Joel Embiid would provide the Sixers with arguably the most unstoppable duo of all time, the cards do not look to be in store for this to occur. The Nets mortgaged the future to assemble the star-studded trio and likely will be in search of a draft haul if they elect to move on from Durant. This is a hurdle the Sixers cannot clear as Brooklyn already possesses the Sixers’ first-round pick this year from the Harden deal and the next first-round pick they can trade is in 2029.
Tyrese Maxey is a terrific starting point in a trade offer, but it would take much more to land a player who is comfortably mentioned among the best players in the NBA. It also would be a difficult pill to swallow moving on from the young guard who looks to be a long-term foundational piece of the Sixers organization.
Some upgrades still need to be made when looking at the current Sixers roster, but “star-hunting” has been the downfall of the organization in years past. Philadelphia is limited in its remaining assets and must be sure to get the final moves right to maximize Embiid’s window to win. Dumping all of their assets to land Durant would likely be the only major move that could be made and would put the Sixers in an uneasy territory in future years.