Basketball

NBA insider explains what the Nets really want in a Kevin Durant trade

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant has nothing but praise for Chet Holmgren’s Summer League debut by Ian Levy

The Brooklyn Nets are likely sorting through plenty of trade offers for Kevin Durant. But a new rumor reveals what they’re really looking for.

The Brooklyn Nets had to be salivating looking at the deal that sent Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Jazz wound up with four first-round picks, a 2026 first-round pick swap and five players — none of whom were stars but included the players the Wolves selected in the first round this year (Walker Kessler, No. 22) and last year (Leandro Bolmaro, No. 23).

The Nets were reportedly rebuffed when they asked the Timberwolves for a similar package of picks along with Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards for Durant. But they have to feel good about their chances of getting an even more valuable package than what the Jazz got for Gobert.

What do the Brooklyn Nets really want in a Kevin Durant trade?

Any Durant trade is likely to include 3-4 future first-round picks with multiple pick swaps covering the drafts between those picks (NBA rules forbid teams from trading their first-round picks in consecutive drafts). The difference-maker for the Nets is likely going to be the young players they can get around those picks to jumpstart their rebuild.

According to Marc Stein, they’re looking for a blue-chip player as well:

The Nets, as we’ve been saying, don’t have to proceed as fast as the basketball world wants — not with Durant under contract for the next four seasons. Brooklyn privately maintains that it won’t trade Durant unless it gets a package in return that starts with a blue-chipper like New Orleans’ Brandon Ingram or Toronto’s Scottie Barnes … along with lots more attached to a theoretical deal than the absolute hauls San Antonio and Utah received in exchange for Murray and Gobert.

That line in the sand may make things a bit more difficult for the Nets. The Pelicans are an ascendant young team and may not be willing to mortgage their future for a short-term title window by trading Ingram. The same seems likely for the Raptors, with Barnes coming off his Rookie of the Year campaign. The Suns have been linked in rumors with packages centered around Cam Johnson, Mikal Bridges and a sign-and-trade for Deandre Ayton but none of those players have quite the ceiling of Ingram or Barnes.

This may just be a hard-line bargaining tactic by the Nets, especially when the idea of forcing Durant to return against his wishes looks like a messy proposition. But the Nets could also explore trading Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons and look for the young talent in those deals to surround the draft picks that feature in a Durant deal.

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