It’s been almost 5 weeks since Kevin Durant despatched shock waves by the NBA after reportedly requesting a commerce from the Brooklyn Nets. However regardless of an limitless provide of rumors, buzz, and headlines ever since, Durant stays with the staff as commerce talks have seemingly stalled.

The 33-year-old ahead remains to be one of the crucial coveted gamers within the league, however the large bounty of gamers and picks the Nets are reportedly requesting is a tricky bar to satisfy for any staff. To this point, no suitor has made a pretty sufficient provide for Brooklyn to tug off a deal. And with Durant below contract by the 2025-26 season, the Nets star doesn’t have a lot leverage to drive his entrance workplace’s hand to ship him elsewhere.

So how will the Durant saga play out? Will we be caught on this limbo eternally? The Ringer surveyed its NBA writers and requested them what can be essentially the most fascinating end result of the KD commerce talks.

Rob Mahoney: Nets

The Durant sweepstakes have gone thus far across the bend that the almost definitely end result at this level is that the famous person participant within the famous person’s league received’t truly get what he desires. It’s fairly bizarre that Durant remains to be a Internet greater than a month after asking to be traded, with out the slightest indication {that a} deal may very well be coming quickly. It’ll be stranger nonetheless if (or when?) he reviews to camp with Brooklyn this fall, probably alongside Assumed Laker Kyrie Irving because the dwelling embodiments of the staff’s purgatory state.

Is a superteam nonetheless a superteam if its stars are determined to be some place else? Who is aware of, however even when not, would any of the rumblings over the previous month actually forestall Brooklyn from shrugging into competition anyway? Durant, Irving, some model of Ben Simmons, and a number of high quality function gamers makes for a fairly formidable group—even when it’s solely held collectively by the grace of a posh commerce market. Each staff desires Durant. But few can truly afford the price of buying and selling for him, and proper now, even these few don’t appear particularly desirous to pay the hefty value. So Durant can be a Internet till one thing budges, in a transitory state till he’s instantly not.

Because it seems, essentially the most fascinating end result of a commerce request from among the finest gamers within the sport is to get no actual decision in any respect. Including KD to any staff would vault them up the aggressive ranks, giving immediate credibility to their championship goals. We all know roughly what it might imply for him to hitch the Suns or the Warmth and even the Celtics. What we don’t know is whether or not him beginning the season in Brooklyn would imply something in any respect. As we kicked round potential commerce packages that will ship Durant to this staff or that, possibly we ignored the escape hatch that would result in some sort of appeasement. There might nonetheless be a method for KD to be content material as a Internet—or possibly simply to seem in order he performs out his partnership with the staff, with all concerned ready out the proper return.

It may be a drag to maintain up with a protracted commerce saga (minimize to Simmons, whose ask to be shipped out of Philly hung within the air lengthy sufficient to show rancid), however each case can’t assist however train us issues in regards to the folks concerned. We be taught one thing about Durant by whether or not he reveals up for camp. By whether or not he participates, and whether or not Irving follows go well with. By how he interacts along with his teammates. In whether or not he in the end fits up for normal season video games, and what he’s keen to speculate if he does. We’ve seen Durant work by almost each basketball state of affairs conceivable in his 14 seasons within the NBA. Now, because of all this mess, we get to look at him deal with one thing fully new.

Seerat Sohi: Celtics

In a staff’s growth course of, no stage is extra fragile than the try to go from nice to larger. To tinker and evolve with out shedding the elements that fueled its success. It seemed just like the Celtics threaded that needle completely this summer time by buying and selling for Malcolm Brogdon, a gentle table-setting guard to mood their turnover-prone offense, and signing Danilo Gallinari. However with Kevin Durant on the commerce block, the temptation is powerful, they usually’re going through this dilemma as soon as once more.

In 2018, the Raptors traded DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard and took on a number of messy iterations earlier than in the end successful a championship. However the season earlier than, the Celtics crashed and burned after making an attempt to hit the improve button by dealing Isaiah Thomas for Kyrie Irving. Boston is aware of higher than most how totally different these trades can look on paper versus in actuality.

The Celtics have reportedly provided Jaylen Brown, their de facto no. 2, who’s eight years youthful than Durant, however the Nets additionally need Marcus Good, Boston’s greatest perimeter communicator, and the reigning Defensive Participant of the Yr who shepherds their hard-nosed identification.

Would shedding Brown and/or Good knock them down a peg defensively, or would Durant’s pairing with Ime Udoka reignite the multifaceted defensive monster that dominated with the Warriors?

The unanswerable query of how these intangibles measure up in opposition to Durant’s sheer expertise is fascinating. So is the prospect of a Celtics-Warriors Finals rematch with Durant in inexperienced and white.

Kevin O’Connor: Pelicans

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst stated in early July that the Pelicans hoped head coach Willie Inexperienced, who was an assistant when Durant was with the Warriors, would have the chance to “promote the imaginative and prescient that they’ve” to KD. I’d think about it’d go one thing like: “Kevin, think about when you change Brandon Ingram and get an opportunity to play subsequent to a wholesome Zion Williamson. You, Zion, and CJ McCollum can be the very best scoring trio within the league. Herb Jones would defend the opponent’s greatest gamers so you possibly can play everywhere in the ground such as you did with us in Golden State. We are able to go small with you three, plus Larry Nance, and we now have the bigs to match up in opposition to anybody. And we might nonetheless have leftover belongings to enhance the staff within the coming years even after getting you. We’re set as much as contend now and deep into your 30s. This metropolis is prepared for a championship and you’ll lead us there.”

There isn’t a greater pure basketball match for KD than New Orleans. That’s, so long as Williamson stays wholesome. However the Pelicans suppose he’s coming again one hundred pc subsequent season. There are Pelicans followers who’d slightly maintain Ingram and sit on their picks for the subsequent star to turn into out there. And it is smart to an extent contemplating Ingram is a 24-year-old All-Star. I as soon as stated the Lakers needs to be cautious about transferring him for Kawhi Leonard again when he needed out of San Antonio.

At this stage, although, Ingram would must be the centerpiece of any commerce for the Nets to think about making a deal. The Pelicans have quite a bit extra to supply with 13 future first-round picks and 4 gamers drafted within the first spherical since 2019: heart Jaxson Hayes, guard Kira Lewis, ahead Trey Murphy, and guard/wing Dyson Daniels. It wouldn’t be stunning if the Nets needed Jones, or Jose Alvarado, or Devonte’ Graham, as effectively. Backside line, New Orleans has a ton it may well provide and would nonetheless have loads of expertise and items left over to enrich KD. Becoming a member of Williamson now may very well be sorta like tagging together with Joel Embiid in 2017, after he missed his first two seasons then performed solely 31 video games as a rookie. Embiid was nearly to blossom right into a megastar, and whereas he hasn’t had excellent well being since, he’s carried out sufficient to guide his staff to the playoffs each single 12 months. The worst of Zion’s harm woes may very well be prior to now. KD and Zion can be a real drive.

Zach Kram: Warriors

Let’s study three fast questions on this situation …

1. Can the Warriors truly commerce for Durant? The reply here’s a definitive sure: With Andrew Wiggins to match salaries, a number of intriguing younger gamers—Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, James Wiseman—and all however considered one of their future first-round picks nonetheless round, Golden State can put collectively an intriguing package deal to entice the Nets.

2. Ought to the Warriors truly commerce for Durant? Once more, the reply in principle is a definitive sure. The reigning champs are targeted on successful as many titles as they’ll within the Steph Curry period, and Durant would symbolize a sufficiently vital improve over Wiggins to extend the present group’s ceiling. In spite of everything, he as soon as changed Harrison Barnes and helped Curry and Co. win a pair of titles.

3. Will the Warriors truly commerce for Durant? Right here we slam into a probable no, nevertheless. The Warriors appear content material with their younger gamers and simply received a title with out Durant. Irrespective of how a lot such a commerce can be like poetry, rhyming with what got here earlier than, it’s laborious to think about Golden State truly bringing Durant again.

Dan Devine: Grizzlies

Hey, you recognize the place it’d be enjoyable to see Kevin Durant play basketball subsequent season?

I pitched the Grizzlies as a possible KD commerce vacation spot final month, as a result of it’s good to think about enjoyable issues, and it’s awfully enjoyable to consider Memphis filling its wing gap between kids Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. with one of many biggest and most versatile scorers within the recreation’s historical past.

Morant doesn’t shoot it like Kyrie Irving does, however his electrical recreation and preternatural playmaking would match simply as neatly subsequent to Durant. Jackson offers the last-line-of-defense shot-blocking and mistake-erasing to assist reduce the influence of an getting old KD shedding a step in protection. The Grizzlies ranked fourth in factors scored per possession final season, fueled by their elite transition recreation, however they usually struggled to provide when the sport slowed down, ending simply twenty second in half-court offensive effectivity. Including Durant, a digital guarantor of elite half-court-scoring precision, would go a good distance towards fixing that drawback, notably within the postseason. Memphis fell to the Warriors within the second spherical of the playoffs thanks largely to its offense short-circuiting in Video games 4 and 6; as Golden State is aware of all too effectively, there’s no “in case of bucket-getting emergency, break glass” possibility finer than Durant.

In principle, Memphis has the mixture of projectable younger expertise and draft capital to assemble a deal value Sean Marks’s whereas. In follow, although, constructing a swap that retains Brooklyn afloat as a contender and permits the Grizzlies to nonetheless have sufficient round Ja to contend is fairly difficult.

May Jackson plus Dillon Brooks and a boatload of picks get it carried out, offered the Nets really feel comfy with JJJ’s long-term prognosis after his latest foot surgical procedure? If Jackson’s an excessive amount of of a query mark, may a bigger deal headlined by rising star Desmond Bane, Brooks, picks, swaps, and the $28 million in expiring contracts of Steven Adams and Danny Inexperienced pique Marks’s curiosity? If Brooklyn’s lifeless set on getting off of the $38.6 million owed to Joe Harris over the subsequent two seasons, would an empty-the-cupboard package deal—Bane, Brooks, Adams, Inexperienced, 2021 first-round choose Ziaire Williams, plus sufficient picks and different low-cost younger gamers to make the maths work—get the Nets to sure? And, even when it did, might Memphis really feel assured that what’s left round its new large three can be ok to take one other step ahead in what guarantees to be an much more brutal Western Convention?

The reply to all of these questions might be no. But it surely’s August, the place goals take flight, and the imaginative and prescient of a Ja-KD-JJJ trio whooping all kinds of tips is simply too attractive to let die on the vine of plausibility.

Isaac Levy-Rubinett: Thunder

Let me first lay out why Durant-to-OKC, from a purely hypothetical standpoint, is smart. The marketplace for Durant appears to be in considerably of a holding sample, and Brooklyn might not be capable of internet the sort of blue-chip, younger All-NBA expertise it seeks. So pivot to the staff with limitless draft capital, recoup as many picks as potential, and be in your merry method—the equal of a listerine rinse for the NBA’s most exhausting franchise. I know the Thunder have one thing good going already. Chet Holmgren, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, and Josh Giddey make up a tantalizing and pleasant core. However you recognize who else is nice and tantalizing and pleasant? Kevin Durant! Skeptics argue that buying and selling for KD would prematurely interrupt what has thus far been a promising rebuild in OKC, and that Durant’s presence wouldn’t even elevate the Thunder to quick competition within the West. However Durant is below contract for 4 extra years. With OKC’s rising expertise and the anticipated sleek decline of Durant’s silky recreation, the Thunder can’t solely anticipate to contend earlier than Durant hits free company but additionally view him as an accelerant and mentor of their rebuild slightly than an finish level. The logistics of the commerce would show troublesome, what with matching salaries and all, however that’s what GMs are for—and SGA isn’t off the desk.

Durant in OKC can be a celestial mix of chaos, stability, and intrigue. KD left the Thunder in 2016 for brand spanking new experiences—to be taught, to develop, to win, to evolve, to search out himself. I don’t know whether or not he completed the latter, however he took care of all the things else, and now his former staff might present the proper state of affairs to play out the again 9 of his profession—away from saboteurs, drama, nationwide media, and the like. Give attention to basketball. Mentor the younger’uns. Win, ultimately. Run towering pick-and-rolls with Holmgren. Bury the hatchet with Thunder followers. Take a non-public jet to New York at your leisure. However most significantly, write your personal profession story and put your stamp on a franchise in a method you’ve at all times appeared to need however by no means been in a position to obtain.

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