Sunday, August 7, 2022

Nets ‘angling’ to land star striker in Kevin Durant deal with East Rival

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The NBA world was shocked when Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant requested a trade from the franchise. Just last summer, the 12-time All-Star signed a 4-year, $198 million extension tying him to the franchise through 2026. So in theory, the Nets are under no obligation to postpone it. Still, they have chosen to honor their franchise player’s trade request, but only if it involves a significant return on their investment.

One of the teams that has ironically expressed an interest in the all-star forward is the Toronto Raptors. For those who might be late to the party, KD tore his Achilles tendon in the 2019 NBA Finals against the Raptors, an event many believe helped him leave the Golden State Warriors and join the Nets connected.

Trade talks between the Raptors and the Nets were brief because Toronto refused to include Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes in the deal. However, NBA insider Michael A. Scotto of HoopsHype says the Nets are “fishing” to get the Raptors to include Barnes in a potential deal.

“If you use Scottie Barnes, which you haven’t done yet, then I think you’re having a real conversation. That’s what Brooklyn is striving for (in trade talks with the Raptors),” Scotto writes, per HoopsHype.

“I don’t know if Brooklyn would agree with Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby. Gary Trent Jr. is also a guy who could be in a contract year. He has a ($18.8 million) player option. If he plays like he did last year, I would expect him to fold and go free.”

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The other half of the Nets star duo, Kyrie Irving, is also a name mentioned in trade talks this summer. In early July, Yahoo Sports’ Chris B. Haynes said the Nets were in trade talks with the Los Angeles Lakers over a potential deal that would reunite Kyrie with former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James. But Scotto notes that this exchange would require a third team to be involved.

“When it comes to potential trade talks between Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving, or if the Lakers move Westbrook to a team, both future first-round picks need to be considered. You’ve already seen Indiana turn down multiple second-round picks (in addition to a first-round pick),” Scotto added.

“If the Nets brought Westbrook, I would assume there would be a third team involved, and one of those first-round picks would go to a salary-capped team like the Pacers or Spurs. They’d probably have more appetite to buy him out to get a first-round pick.”

The Nets have already suffered a major loss this offseason after free agent Bruce Brown signed a two-year deal with the Denver Nuggets in July.

After the Nets struck a blockbuster trade that sent James Harden to the Sixers in exchange for Ben Simmons, Brown’s level of play increased exponentially. Per Stat Musehe averaged 13.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 27 games for the Nets during that span.

Brown’s game picked up even more as the Nets made it into the postseason. Per Stat Musehe averaged 14.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists in the first round of the playoffs against the Boston Celtics.

Though the Nets will miss Browns contributions, Scotto says the upcoming return of three-time All-Star Ben Simmons could help Brooklyn fill the void he left.

“There’s a thought that Simmons will protect top player one through five, really probably four, not five. He can play Bruce Brown’s role a bit on offense,” added Scotto. “They want him to come out in transition and get light looks for Durant and Irving. I think he will help them defensively, no question.”

The Nets have many unanswered questions before the start of NBA training camp. It will be interesting to see what the roster looks like on opening night.

CONTINUE READING: Proposed Kevin Durant trade gives Nets massive three-player, three-draft pick haul

The Nets have many unanswered questions before the start of NBA training camp. It will be interesting to see what the roster looks like on opening night.

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