The Phoenix Suns are still in contention for lead star Kevin Durant, but Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks and team owner Joe Tsai are not in a rush and remain determined to explore all commercial options for the best deal, league sources report. New York Post Sunday.
Marks is said to be holding the Youth All-Star Game and several draft picks, which means the Suns will need to include a third team as a trading partner.
Durant has 12 four years left on his $198 million contract.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Nets were in “ongoing contact” with the Suns and the Miami Heat after Durant requested a trade on the first day of the free agency on June 30.
Durant counts Phoenix and Miami among his top favorites, but the deal may require a suitable third or fourth business partner to achieve.
The trade is not considered imminent or in an advanced stage.
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“Two of the teams that Kevin Durant would like to play for, the Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat, have both been in pretty constant contact,” Wojnarowski said Sunday on SportsCenter.
“I think both teams, individually, may not have enough of a deal with Brooklyn without being able to go out and move some pieces on three-team, four-team deals,” Vojnarowski added.
Superstar players have a recent history of heavyweights choosing the next perfect landing site when asking for deals:
- James Harden was traded by the Houston Rockets to the Brooklyn Nets in January 2021, then from the Nets to the Philadelphia 76ers this past February.
- Anthony Davis worked his way out of New Orleans to be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in July 2019.
- Paul George was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Los Angeles Clippers that same month with Davis.
But the nets seem to have the upper hand as to where Durant can go next.
Wojnarowski added that the Nets are evaluating what Durant could order in return after several deals for All-Star players since free agency began.
Utah Jazz trades Rudy Gobert to Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for five players and five draft picks including four preliminary rounds (2023, 2025, 2027, 2029 protected) and a 2026 pick swap.
The Atlanta Hawks have acquired former San Antonio Spurs All-Star guard Dejaunt Murray and center Jock Landall for four draft picks, including three preliminary rounds (2023, 2025, 2027 protected), and a 2026 pick swap.
The Nets had no first-round draft picks for the next five years, nor did they have any first-round draft picks. This is due to the acquisition of Harden from Houston. When the Rockets dealt the Harden, the Nets sent the Rockets their unprotected first-round picks in 2022, 2024 and 2026, as well as unprotected first-round picks in 2023, 2025 and 2027.
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“I think Brooklyn is going to try to exhaust four or five first-round picks, four trade-offs at that, but also at least an All-Star player,” Voinarovsky said.
“You look at the people that are available, how they get those deals done, they’re generally going to be complicated deals and they’re going to take a long time to put together, but Brooklyn knows they have time on their side right now, not only is it off season, but Kevin Durant has four years left on his contract. Brooklyn will be speaking throughout the league And he gets what he knows must be a huge deal if they’re going to trade Kevin Durant.”
The Suns All-Star Devin Booker won’t have any trade shows because it’s still in a start-up maximum deal, and there’s a collective bargaining agreement rule that prevents the roster from having players on rookie Max contracts from their former team. The Nets earned three-time All-Star Ben Simmons in the Harden trade, and Simmons was on a novice deal max from the Philadelphia 76ers before going to Brooklyn. Plus, Booker just agreed to the terms of a four-year, $224 million Supermax extension Thursday, so he’s based in Phoenix.
The Suns control their future picks in the first round for the next five years and beyond, which could be in a commercial package for Durant.
There has been widespread speculation that the Nets could see base winger Phoenix and this year’s defensive runner-up Michael Bridges on a business deal, and possibly other All-Star player Chris Paul. The Nets are said to be not interested in Deandre Ayton’s restricted free agent position to sign and trade from Phoenix due to CBA regulations, and they will be immediately restricted to the “yard” luxury tax.
And that’s not just because of the 23-year-old’s huge skill set.
The CBA has a rule called “Basic Year Compensation,” which reduces a player’s previous salary to half of their new base salary.
Eaton is out of a four-year apprentice deal, and his maximum bid will start at around $31 million. If he signs a maximum deal with a trading team in his favour, the value of his outgoing salary by the Suns will count towards half of that amount he will earn in the first season of his new contract.
As for the bib, no team that can get Ayton in signing and trading can exceed the 2022-23 luxury tax threshold set at $150.26 million in salary immediately or at any time after the trade.
That’s why there has been a lot of speculation about a three- or four-team deal that would include potential suitors with a maximum salary. The maximum is $123.65 million next season.
Durant’s pending deal could take place over the summer or later, not within days as Suns or the other team’s fans hope.