When Nets star Kyrie Irving this week opted into his player option for the 2022-23 season, it was expected that would ensure Kevin Durant wanted to stay in Brooklyn to play with his longtime friend. However, in a stunning development Thursday that may overshadow the news that USC and UCLA heading to the Big Ten, Durant has officially requested a trade from the Nets, and SportsLine has odds on his next team.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted this: "Nets GM Sean Marks is working with Durant and his business manager Rich Kleiman on finding a trade for the franchise star. … As the Nets prepare to move one of the most valuable trade assets ever on the market, the entire roster will be available to discuss in deals."
Durant, who turns 34 in September, averaged 29.9 points while shooting 51.8 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from 3-point range, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.4 assists this past season. While his recent injury history is a bit concerning, he's still clearly one of the three best players in the NBA.
KD doesn't have a ton of trade leverage as he is entering the first season of a four-year, $195 million contract and really his only threat could be to retire if he doesn't land where he wants. Irving had leverage because he was a free agent. The Durant news might mean Irving could still be on the move.
The Miami Heat jump to the front of the line for Durant as the team is never afraid to make a big move. Players love setting up shop in South Florida and the Heat could offer up a potential package built around Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and other pieces. The Heat reportedly were not willing to give up their top assets in a deal to acquire Irving,
The Suns seem ready to sign-and-trade center and former No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton, and perhaps Ayton (he would have to approve it, which is no sure thing), Mikal Bridges and a selection of draft picks would entice the Nets. A Durant, Devin Booker and Chris Paul triumvirate would be a title contender.
Could Boston break up its All-Star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown? Tatum reportedly is untouchable, but Brown would be a good starting point in a deal for Durant. Brown and Marcus Smart (and many draft picks) for Durant works salary-wise.
Would Durant actually go back to Oklahoma City? The Thunder have some intriguing young talent and an incredible amount of draft pick assets even after trading three future first-rounders to the Knicks during the 2022 draft.
Atlanta was often mentioned as a potential Durant suitor a week ago, but the Hawks have given up pretty much all their draft assets in the Dejounte Murray deal.
Brooklyn was a +750 fourth favorite at Caesars Sportsbook to win the 2023 NBA title but already has moved to +3000. Interestingly, Caesars also just shifted the Suns into the +550 favored role and lowed the Heat's odds to +800.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Which team will Kevin Durant be playing for Game 1 of the 2022-23 season?
- Heat +250
- Suns +300
- Celtics +500
- Grizzlies +700
- Knicks +800
- Clippers +900
- Trail Blazers +1000
- Mavericks +1100
- Thunder +1200
- Bulls +1500
- Pelicans +1700
- Lakers +1800
- Warriors +2000
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