An already deep Western Conference was jolted by a seismic shift late Wednesday night.
The Phoenix Suns are acquiring star forward Kevin Durant in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report.
Phoenix is sending Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, four first-round draft picks and a 2028 pick swap to Brooklyn, according to multiple reports. The picks, in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029, are unprotected.
The Suns also reportedly get forward T.J. Warren in the deal.
Durant requested a trade last summer with Phoenix as one of his preferred destinations, but he rescinded that request and started the season alongside Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons in Brooklyn. The Nets finished Wednesday fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, but in less than a week, they have parted with both eight-time All-Star Irving – who requested a trade last week and was dealt to Dallas on Sunday – and 13-time All-Star Durant.
The trade came just hours after new Suns majority owner Mat Ishbia was introduced in Phoenix. The self-described basketball nut, who was a walk-on at Michigan State under Tom Izzo, didn’t waste any time shaking up the league. He reportedly pushed to get a trade done with Thursday’s noon PT NBA trade deadline fast approaching.
The Suns (30-26) finished Wednesday in fifth place in the Western Conference and they surrendered some depth in this deal, but with Durant joining the All-Star backcourt of Devin Booker and Chris Paul and center Deandre Ayton, oddsmakers are already installing them as a favorite to represent the West in the NBA Finals.
The Suns have had several injuries this season, but played better in recent weeks and Booker (groin) and Paul (hip) have both recently returned. Durant, who is currently out with an MCL sprain in his right knee, is expected to be ready to return after the All-Star break.
After the Nets traded Irving to the Mavericks, Durant reportedly had been engaged in conversations with Nets owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks on the direction of the franchise and its ability to be a championship contender.
On Tuesday, the Nets had reportedly insisted to Durant and inquiring teams that the organization had no intention of moving him prior this season, with many then expecting a deal would occur during the summer.
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Durant, 34, is in the first year of a four-year, $194 million extension he signed in August 2021 when the Nets had a trio of Durant, Irving and James Harden. Harden was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in a package that sent Simmons to Brooklyn at last year’s trade deadline.
Durant attended the Nets’ loss to the Clippers on Monday night in Brooklyn but did not speak to reporters on his way out of the Barclays Center.
When Irving heard the news of Durant’s trade, he said: “I’m just glad that he got out of there.”
“We had a lot of conversations throughout the year of what our futures were going to look like,” Irving added after scoring 24 points to lead his new team to a 110-104 victory over the Clippers at Crypto.com Arena. “There was still a level of uncertainty but we just cared about seeing each other be places that we can thrive. Whether that be together or whether that be apart, there has never been one moment where I’ve felt like he’s been angry at me for the decisions I’ve made or I’ve been angry at him.
“I just love the competition now that we can be in the same conference.”
Crowder has not played this season after requesting a trade in the offseason and could be a candidate to be part of an additional deal before the deadline.
The Suns have never won an NBA title, though they reached the NBA Finals two seasons ago, losing to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in six games. They also played in the Finals in 1976 and 1993.