October 3, 2022

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League-wide offseason chatter about a potential Brooklyn Nets roster explosion had mostly died down since Kyrie Irving took his $36.5 million player option on Monday afternoon, that is, until Kevin Durant requested a trade away from the Nets on Thursday, per Shams Charania of Athletics and Stadiumapproximately three hours before the start of the free agent trading period.

And now the possibility of the Los Angeles Lakers landing Kyrie Irving becomes realistic again.

While the league briefly spoke about potential Irving and Durant trade scenarios on Monday — with Durant’s trade a perceived possibility should Irving choose to opt out and join the Lakers — two teams were often repeated at Bleacher Report. by league figures as an All-NBA forward. favorite destinations: the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat.

Brooklyn did not receive rival inquiries for Durant earlier this week, sources told B/R, but Nets staff have made it clear Brooklyn’s asking price would be huge if Durant asks to be moved. If Dejounte Murray drew two unprotected first-round picks, plus a third first-round pick and an extra pick trade, how much should Durant be worth on that scale?

Regardless of the outcome, there will be many moving parts, and this trade could very well become one of the biggest blockbusters the NBA has ever seen.

Despite Irving’s re-engagement in Brooklyn, league sources continued to whisper about Irving’s mutual desire to reunite with LeBron James in Los Angeles this week. For that to happen anytime soon, the Lakers would likely need to find a third or even a fourth team that would be willing to absorb Russell Westbrook’s $47.1 million salary and still find players to compensate Brooklyn for Irving. .

Now Irving may be able to find a way to get to Los Angeles as the Nets explore all the options on their roster.

“It gives the Lakers their best shot at Kyrie,” a team cap strategist said.

From Brooklyn’s perspective, sources say, there’s no deal to land Durant in Phoenix that doesn’t start with Devin Booker being fired at Barclays Center. The Suns, of course, would probably hold the line. But early indications are that the Nets brass isn’t particularly inclined to take a sign and trade that brings back restricted free agent Deandre Ayton.

When it comes to Miami, Brooklyn’s request would also start with Bam Adebayo. But taking over Adebyo or Booker would open a whole new Pandora’s box. As first mentioned by Spotrac’s Keith SmithBrooklyn could not acquire Adebayo or Booker and retain Ben Simmons because league rules prohibit teams from signing two designated players under rookie-scale contracts acquired through trade.

So if Brooklyn’s best offer comes from Miami, that would likely indicate that Simmons should find a new destination.

Elsewhere in the league, name a potential trade partner, pick their best player under 30 and see where a bid for Durant should start. The Anthony Davis New Orleans package landed from Los Angeles in 2019 would be the closest benchmark in recent memory.

The only team that NBA sources with knowledge of the situation say aren’t a tangible option for Durant is Golden State. And the Warriors probably don’t have a winning set of plays that Brooklyn would be interested in anyway.

The Nets also won’t be required to accept Durant’s desired landing spots. They’ll be listening all over the league, and Brooklyn is sure to be looking for one of the biggest pay packages for a superstar in NBA history. And, as sources told B/R, the Nets will continue to do business with the goal of vying for a championship.