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Kevin Durant’s quest to find a new home as he awaits a trade from the Brooklyn Nets could take him to a place he knows very well.
Appearing on ESPN Radio, Andscape’s Marc J. Spears called the Golden State Warriors a team to “keep an eye on” for Durant. Spears then took to Twitter to give more context to her report:
Spears noted that the Warriors “could” potentially deliver the best package for both parties, with a deal involving Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga and James Wiseman.
By ESPN Adrian WojnarowskiDurant has the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat among the teams on his favorite list of trade destinations.
Even if the Warriors have the pieces to potentially make a run on Durant, it’s unclear if they would seriously consider doing so.
General manager Bob Myers has been very strategic in maximizing this current window with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green and keeping an eye on the future.
There was a lot of speculation ahead of the 2020 NBA Draft that Golden State could move the No. 2 overall pick for a winning play now. Instead, the Warriors used it to select Wiseman.
Myers lost some of the depth of their 2021-22 title team roster due to the team’s huge payroll and luxury tax bill. Gary Payton II and Juan Toscano-Anderson found new homes early in free agency.
Anthony Slater @anthonyvslater
The Warriors were unwilling to pay that high price (and resulting tax hike) for Gary Payton II and have now lost their defensive ace on the bench to the Blazers. He led the NBA in steals by 36 minutes last season. https://t.co/iaY6xmUrG7
Poole still has a guaranteed season on his rookie contract. The 23-year-old is eligible for an extension this summer, with Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle last month reporting an offer likely to start at four years, $100 million.
Perhaps a bigger question than what the Warriors should give up is: Would Durant want to return to Golden State?
After Durant made his trade request, Wojnarowski said on Friday’s episode of Rise that Golden State’s title win this season played a part in his decision to want to leave Brooklyn (starts at 3:10).
“I think that made Kevin Durant frustrated,” Wojnarowski said. “I think it was the narrative around him that he processed after he left Golden State and then won a title without him, unlike what happened in Brooklyn those three last years.”
In a September 2019 interview with JR Moehringer of the wall street journalDurant said he “definitely felt accepted” by the Warriors when he was there.
“But I will never be one of those guys,” he added. “I wasn’t drafted there… Steph Curry, obviously drafted there. Andre Iguodala, won the first final, the first championship. Klay Thompson, drafted there. Draymond Green, drafted there. And the rest of the guys sort of rehabilitated their careers there.”
The Nets have made the playoffs in each of the past two seasons with Durant, but have only won one series (2021 first round). They were swept in the first round this season by the Boston Celtics.
Durant’s four-year, $194.2 million contract extension, which he signed in August 2021, goes into effect for the 2022-23 season.
Given how much time is still on Durant’s deal, he may not have as much ability to dictate where he ends up as superstars like Paul George and Anthony Davis have in recent years.
There’s certainly no harm in the Warriors kicking the tires by bringing back a player who was named NBA Finals MVP in his first two seasons with the organization. It would be a bad deal if Myers didn’t call the Nets to pique their interest.
Durant is still one of the biggest difference makers in the NBA when he plays. The 12-time All-Star averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game in 55 starts for the Nets in 2021-22.