As Kevin Durant’s trade demand forces the NBA offseason into utter confusion, fake trades, rumors, and virtual destinations for someone possibly still the best player alive dominated all the conversations. Where he goes next, and what it costs him to get there, will hover around the entire 2022–23 season. The ripple effects will spread far and last for years.
By assessing the current league landscape, some organizations are better created to land Durant and put him in a position to win the title than others. But a semi-realistic team that may or may not be in actual running to land the KWD also happens to provide a more mutually beneficial position than any other team: Portland.
Admittedly, the idea is so much unimaginable as it is realization. while the blazer He might not have enough to deliver the Nets – in addition to the All-Star, don’t be shocked if Brooklyn hauls include eight or nine first-round picks broadcast from two (or maybe three) teams – it’s okay to daydream about a fun, straight score Relatively speaking, they make sense on several levels.
For starters, this may be Durant’s most satisfying success. In Portland, his team’s expectations will fall for the first time in years, with a strong chance of over-realizing them and blowing them up. One season removed from a 27-win debacle that has seen them tear things up and sell off some of their best veterans (CJ McCollum, Norm Powell and Robert Covington), the Blazers are not one piece away from being considered a tournament favourite, even if Durant gets on board. Damien Lillard’s season was also interrupted by abdominal surgery. He played in just 29 games and shot 32.4% behind the three-point streak.
Narratives and legacies are always irrelevant in discussions like this, but here, connected to what might be his final focus, are important. For Durant, there’s an opportunity to spend the remaining years of his debut on the only team he’s passed in the draft, built into a roster that can’t be described as a juggernaut, battling hard alongside one of his most beloved and respected. players of his generation.
It would be impossible to criticize Durant in this scenario. The Blazers can be good but they are not a super team that is stacked even after he’s joined. Over the past four years, No team has had a worse defense. Not that he hasn’t performed so well on a big stage before, but to win it all here requires an edge that even Durant might not be able to call him. It’s an enormous challenge. It would also be a blast.
Durant plus Lillard equals the surface of the Sun. These two along with Jusuf Nurkić, Gary Payton II and Jerami Grant (if he’s not in the trade!) make a full-body, two-way quintet that would rival any league five-rookie. Everything else about the menu as it is currently built is weak and will demand a lot from the new dynamic duo. It’s unclear which Josh Hart, Nasser Little, and/or Justis Winslow would engage in this theoretical trade. Speaking of, building a physical package that 1) works and 2) boolean isn’t going to be easy. Here, in a nutshell, is an honest attempt, with a first look at everyone’s favorite topic: offsetting a future draft.
Go to follow
If Portland avoids the lottery next season, the 2023 first-round pick will go to the Bulls, ending the obligation. But for the purpose of creating a huge commercial offering, Stepien’s rule currently prevents the Blazers from making a deal that includes future picks. The Blazers will have to renegotiate an amendment with Chicago to shorten the term of protectionJust like The Heat did in February with Thunder—before any of their future choices could improve the show.
If all goes well, Portland could deliver unprotected firsts in 2025, 27, and 29, along with Milwaukee’s top four were protected first in ’25– Courtesy of New Orleans from McCollum Trade last year – And a pick-me-up galore. Shaedon Sharpe is another excellent asset to be included alongside Anfernee Simons, who turned 23 last month, just signed a $100 million contract and can conceivably grow into one of the league’s most self-reliant bulletmakers in his position.
(Brooklyn has a hard edge if it takes over someone in a mark and trades, which, along with the base year offset, complicates Simmons’ participation. But if both parties are committed in this simulation to make it happen, they can work with a third person team to get something done and/ Or looking more aggressively to weed out Kyrie Irving/Ben Simmons.) The rest of the Portland show is payroll stuffing. It’s lucrative to own the future of a young market team made up of two aging superstars (Durant is about to turn 34 and Lillard is 32 later this month), it’s not easy to sell a deal that’s only moderately superior to what Rudi Gobert’s T-Wolves have forked out. . It also lacks a guaranteed star and is far from the best show Brooklyn can find. But …
He can play in a hidden city in the Pacific Northwest, adjacent to where his professional journey began. It won’t be so for him But that ship sailed no matter where he went. Durant would undoubtedly become his best player, though, in an environment free of melodrama and distraction off the field. Life will be basketball, alongside Lillard, a new actor with as much self-awareness, confidence, and authenticity as the franchise players. A victim of his undying loyalty, Lillard doesn’t mind Being vulnerable in public, also. He knows what he wants. There is no claim. This established culture would be the antithesis of everything Durant just experienced in Brooklyn.
The Golden State reunion can only be a drunken rush, the same experience that failed to satisfy his hunger the first time around. Win it all in Toronto, and some will find it hard to separate that achievement from what Kawhi Leonard has already done. Do the same in Miami – with Jimmy Butler and Pam Adebayo – on a team that just had the best record in the Eastern Conference, dressed as LeBron James. Raising a banner in Phoenix would be great, and it’s said to be where Durant wants to be. But assuming Chris Paul and Devin Booker are still there, he might as well team up with the group that reached the finals in 2021, just won 64 games and already laid the groundwork for what could happen.
The address in Portland will be different. He would have done more than establish Durant as the greatest mercenary in history. A career that doesn’t need more will bring the accolades already earned by other famous NBA characters to Durant’s stature. The Blazers would be a perfect fit for this reason and so much more, even if she actually ended up out there looking like Hail Mary.
More NBA coverage: