Kevin Durant To Phoenix: How Likely It Is To Happen

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Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during the second half of the Eastern Conference 2022 Play-In Tournament against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Barclays Center on April 12, 2022 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Nets won 115-108.

Phoenix -- Fans of the Phoenix Suns are still getting used to the fact that their team is not playing in the postseason anymore after last season’s success, which now forces them to look ahead to the offseason.

The biggest question for the Suns is whether they will be re-signing Deandre Ayton to a contract after the reported friction he has had with head coach Monty Williams.

Conventional thinking dictates that it should be a no-brainer for Phoenix as Ayton is one of the best and most versatile big men in the league today, despite not utilizing a three-point shot.

However, there have been rumblings that the Suns’ front office may pull off a massive coup and swap Ayton for Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant.

It was recently reported by the New York Daily News’ Kristian Winfield that Durant and the Nets front office have not been in contact since getting swept by the Boston Celtics in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Winfield also noted that the Nets are unwilling to give co-star Kyrie Irving, who can opt out of his four-year, $136.5 million contract this summer, an extension because of his injury history plus his unwillingness to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

Should Irving decide to leave, this would leave Durant alone in Brooklyn with an injured Ben Simmons as his partner.

Because of this, Suns fans on Reddit started mocking up possibilities of how they could bring Durant to the Valley and give their franchise a much better chance at winning their first title.

The most likely trade package for Durant is a combination of Ayton, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Cameron Johnson, and multiple picks.

Mikal Bridges, Phoenix Suns
Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns reacts after scoring against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half of Game Five of the Western Conference First Round NBA Playoffs at Footprint Center on April 26, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Pelicans 112-97.
Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

At first glance, it seems like it is given for the Suns to take such a trade because of Durant’s championship pedigree brought about by his unstoppable offensive game.

However, this runs the risk of having them lose their best defenders in Bridges and Crowder plus a scoring threat in Johnson.

Defense has been a major foundation of their success these past two seasons and not having Bridges, who was selected to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team.

Giving up multiple picks is something they would be willing to sacrifice because their window is only open for as long as Chris Paul, 37, remains effective.

Their most recent playoff run had Paul showing his age in multiple games, particularly in Games 6 and 7 against the Dallas Mavericks.

As this postseason has shown, making it back to the NBA Finals is no easy feat and it will never be assured despite how talented the team is.

Adding Durant to the mix drastically does increase their offensive potential, but at the cost of their intensity on defense.

With an eye on a possible future without “CP3,” general manager James Jones will have to weigh his options smartly–something that he has done particularly well since joining the front office in 2017.

With the number of drama that has emerged from Phoenix, this offseason could be the most important one in their history as their shot at winning a title hinges on what they do with Ayton.

Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns slam dunks against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half of Game Two of the Western Conference Second Round NBA Playoffs at Footprint Center on May 04, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Mavericks 129-109.
Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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