The Philadelphia 76ers reportedly have no interest in trading for Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving after his trade request, but one insider believes they could be interested in a deal for his more talented teammate.
As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported, Irving told the franchise that he wants out of Brooklyn before the February 9 trade deadline. Several teams are expected to be interested — including the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks — but several insiders have reported that the Sixers will not be among them.
Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice believes that the Sixers could find another way to benefit from Irving’s trade request, making a run at former MVP Kevin Durant should he follow his teammate out of Brooklyn.
Sixers Would ‘Certainly Be Interested’ in Trade for Kevin Durant
Irving and Durant both seemed destined to leave Brooklyn in the offseason, with both requesting trades before eventually deciding to return to the team. As Neubeck noted, Irving’s new request has stirred up plenty of uncertainty in Brooklyn.
“If Irving is sent packing, you have to wonder if Durant has any interest in seeing things through in Brooklyn, assuming they get role players and/or picks back for the disgruntled meme lord,” he wrote. “And the Durant proposition is much different than trading for Irving’s brand of chaos.”
If Durant should find his way to the trade block, Neubeck reported that the Sixers “would certainly be interested” — though would have a tall task in coming up with an offer that could beat out other suitors. He noted that they do not have control of first-round picks in 2023, 2025 or 2027 and cannot trade their 2024, 2026 or 2028 first-round picks.
Philadelphia’s best chance could be in budding young star Tyrese Maxey, but they would need to sweeten the deal with other players.
“Any deal with Maxey as a centerpiece basically requires for Tobias Harris to go with him for salary purposes, and you could tinker with a deal beyond that,” Neubeck noted. “The lifting of vaccination requirements makes Matisse Thybulle more appealing than he would have been last year, for example. De’Anthony Melton is the sort of two-way guy you’d want to keep, but with the Sixers low on picks he could be someone that has to be considered as a value-add in a trade of this magnitude.”
Kevin Durant ‘Drawing Interest’ From Teams
If the Sixers do have designs on trading for Durant, they could have plenty of competition. Wojnarowski reported that there are already several teams interested in the former MVP.
“Among rival teams, there’s far more interest in inquiring on Kevin Durant’s reaction to Kyrie Irving’s trade request and how that may impact KD’s future with the Nets,” Wojnarowski tweeted.
Another Eastern Conference rival could be ready to take the lead. As Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported, the Toronto Raptors could go “big-game hunting” at the trade deadline and target Durant.
“For over a month, sources told Yahoo Sports, the Toronto Raptors have told rival teams they will wait until the final hours before deciding whether to become buyers or sellers in this trade market,” Fischer reported. “Why would Masai Ujiri’s front office part with O.G. Anunoby or Fred VanVleet if the MVP candidate, with three-plus seasons left on his contract, were to become available?”