By: Nick Grunewald
The Phoenix Suns have agreed to a blockbuster deal acquiring Kevin Durant and T.J. Warren from the Brooklyn Nets in a four-team trade with the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers. Brooklyn got back a package of Mikal Bridges, Cam Thomas, four first round picks (2023, 2025, 2027, 2029) and a pick swap in 2028.
Veteran forward Jae Crowder was shipped to the Bucks while the Pacers received multiple second round picks and players to eat cap space.
According to reports, the Nets received multiple calls from teams who were interested in Mikal Bridges after he was traded to the team. The Nets refused all offers for the two-way forward, including an offer of four first round picks.
Hours after new Suns majority owner Mat Ishiba was introduced by the organization, he wasted no time making a splash. Working late into Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, Ishiba had a deal done for one of the top players on the market.
The Phoenix Suns have been linked with Durant since he first requested a trade this past summer. Now with their new majority owner in place, it was a priority to go after the former MVP and two time champion. The asking price was always going to be steep to acquire a player of Durants caliber, but the Suns were not short of assets. Phoenix, unlike other contending teams around the league, still held the rights to all their future draft picks and had a plethora of intriguing young players.
In the days following the Kyrie Irving trade to the Dallas Mavericks, Durant met with the Nets front office to discuss the future of the team. Phoenix was always Durants preferred destination if he were to move on and Brooklyn knew this. Nets owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks worked hand and hand with Durant to work out a trade that got him to Phoenix.
Even in his 15th season and at 34, Kevin Durant has still played like arguably the best player in the league when healthy, averaging 29.7 points 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists in the 39 games he has played in this season. Durant has been sidelined since January 8th when he sprained his MCL against the Heat. He should make his return to the court and his debut for the Suns sometime after the all-star break.
The asking price for Durant was huge, but a championship in return would make it all worth it.
Mikal Bridges is arguably the most durable player in the league earning the nickname “The Warden” as he has never missed a game since being drafted, he’s also one of the best two way players in the league. Cam Thomas is a top-20 shooter in the league and can play multiple positions. They are a group that will be tough to replace.
But neither of these players, along with the five future first round picks the Suns gave up, amount to Kevin Durant. A player of Durants caliber does not become available everyday. In a packed western conference, this could be the move that separates Phoenix from the pack.
Star players drive the NBA, and with a starting lineup featuring Durant, Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton, it is hard to imagine a team with better chances to come out of the west.