BREAKING: Kevin Durant traded to Phoenix Suns
You awake? Well, if you’re not, I’m sure this will help: In a massive overnight blockbuster, the Brooklyn Nets have traded Kevin Durant and TJ Warren to the Phoenix Suns for Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, four first-round picks and a 2028 first-round pick swap, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report early Thursday morning.
It didn’t take long for Bridges to find out, either. He was just like the rest of us when he heard the news.
Woj reported the Nets’ first-round picks that they’ll be receiving will be in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029, more than helping replenish what picks they lost in the James Harden trade two seasons ago.
This move comes with less than 14 hours until the Feb. 9 trade deadline and just days after the Nets traded Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks for Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, a 2029 first-round pick and two second-round picks.
Thus, from those two trades alone, the Nets have acquired five first-round picks plus the first-round pick-swap, four two-way wings — Bridges, Johnson, Crowder and Finney-Smith — plus a productive guard in Dinwiddie.
The Nets might not be done, either. They’re still expected to explore trades for Crowder ahead of the deadline, per Woj. Crowder, 32, has not played this season after he and the Suns mutually agreed to seek trade partners before the season began.
Durant had the Suns — along with the Miami Heat — on his shortlist of preferred destinations when he wanted to get dealt in the offseason. He eventually retracted his trade request and, even post-Irving trade, reports continued to surface that Brooklyn was telling teams they weren’t planning on trading for him. But new Suns owner Matt Ishbia landed his whale — arguably a top-3 one in Kevin Durant — who now joins a Suns squad two seasons removed from an NBA Finals appearance and are the No. 5 seed in the West at 30-26.
Durant, who’s been out the last month with an MCL injury, isn’t expected to return until after the All-Star break. He’s averaging 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game on 55.9 percent shooting, including 37.6 percent from 3-point range. He — and Warren — now join a rotation of Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Cam Payne, Torrey Craig, Landry Shamet, Damion Lee, Dario Saric and Jock Landale, among others.
The Nets, meanwhile, possess a rotation spearheaded by Dinwiddie, Bridges, Ben Simmons, Finney-Smith and Nic Claxton alongside human flamethrower Cam Thomas, Royce O’Neale and Seth Curry. That’s not bad, on paper, but the 4-seeded Nets will almost certainly endure regression towards the back-end of the playoff chase.
Who knows what happens over the next 13 or so hours with other contenders not just in the East, but in the West as well. Subsequent reports from Woj suggest that Toronto Raptors forward O.G. Anunoby‘s value could “escalate” for Western Conference teams — hello, Memphis — ahead of the deadline because of his defensive prowess.
In the East, could the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks or Philadelphia 76ers (with Tobias Harris‘ contract; Reminder: The Sixers are hard-capped with limited flexibility otherwise) make a sizable splash to vault themselves as clear-cut favorites; could the Miami Heat or Cleveland Cavaliers possibly vault themselves into that conversation, too?
We’ll see by Thursday afternoon, but the Suns look like the favorite — assuming everything is healthy — out of the West, and possibly in the league. Who knows what other teams do to counter this massive bombshell.
Tick tock, tick tock: Everyone’s on the clock.
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This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned for updates.