ESPN: Suns Too Flawed to Trade for Durant and Still Contend

The Phoenix Suns have been in pursuit of Kevin Durant since first whispers of his interest in wanting out of the Brooklyn Nets emerged. 

Those inquiries were only more dialed in upon Durant selecting Phoenix and Miami as his top two destinations. 

Yet nearly a month has trickled by, and Durant has yet to be traded. And from everything we’ve seen insiders say, Nets general manager Sean Marks isn’t keen on departing with his superstar for what he believes to be peanuts. 

It’s understandable. Durant is on a four-year deal, and when you look at trade assets acquired for Rudy Gobert and Dejounte Murray, you see why Brooklyn has their theoretical bar so high. 

That’s caused some teams to not sell the farm, especially when the Nets have asked for two All-Star players and a plethora of draft picks. The timetable for a potential move is now cloudy with no end in sight despite recent swirls of interest from the Boston Celtics.

ESPN’s Tim Bontemps and Bobby Marks published a deep-dive into the KD situation, breaking down the latest happenings surrounding Brooklyn and their dilemma with Durant. 

According to Bontemps, a trade for Durant would mean derailing championship hopes if you’re conforming to the Nets’ desired package:

“Trading for Durant would mean fundamentally changing the team and how it plays. Many people would look at that and say, “Sign me up!” I completely understand why. But, to me, you make this trade only if it moves you from one tier to another when discussing a team’s championship odds. In my opinion, that would not be the case for the Celtics.

“The other three teams prominently mentioned in Durant talks — Toronto, the Miami Heat and the Phoenix Suns — all are flawed enough that trading for Durant materially changes their trajectory.”

Many Suns fans feel the same, and apparently so does Phoenix. The Suns have reportedly held Mikal Bridges out of trade talks with Brooklyn, opting to make Cameron Johnson the centerpiece of the deal.

Phoenix isn’t alone, however. The Celtics aren’t wanting to part with Jaylen Brown. The Raptors said no to sending Scottie Barnes to Brooklyn. Miami is reluctant to trade Bam Adebayo in a three-team deal. 

“The easiest — and also the laziest — thing to do would be for Marks to put an artificial timeline on when Durant should be moved. That certainly is not going to happen, nor should it,” said Marks. “The trade packages that Brooklyn has available now will be there in November, December and at the February trade deadline.

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“The Suns come back into the picture after Jan. 15 when Deandre Ayton is available to be traded. But does a package of Ayton, Mikal Bridges and four first-round picks satisfy what the Nets are looking for? And what happens if Phoenix is sitting in first place come mid-January?”

The Suns were quiet happy to retain Ayton, and although Jan. 15 is the first day they can trade him, Ayton still has a veto on any deal for the first year, further pushing doubt that a deal could be made on that timeline. 

Yet the NBA has proven to be the world’s most unpredictable reality show, with each turn proving to be more surprising than the last. 

For the mean time, Durant remains in Brooklyn, and Phoenix’s roster remains intact. We’ll see if anything changes on either front. 

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