Ranking Kevin Durant’s Top 5 Business Destinations

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On June 30, 2022 — the first day of free agency — a trade request from Kevin Durant sent shockwaves through the NBA world. The 10-time All-NBA superstar officially wants out of the dysfunctional Brooklyn Nets organization, and if a trade is granted, it would shift the league’s entire balance of power.

Almost every NBA franchise would love to have KD, but only a few really make sense. The Nets will need legitimate players in return because tanking is not an option. The Houston Rockets own the rights to the organization’s next five (!) first-round picks.

With that in mind, here are Kevin Durant’s top five trade destinations that would make sense for all parties involved.

5. Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns are one of the teams on Kevin Durant’s trade list, and a move to the desert is one of the easiest trades in the group.

The Suns could sign and trade disgruntled center Deandre Ayton. The 2018 No. 1 overall pick could sign a maximum extension of around $30 million per season.

The problem is that Phoenix (or any signing team) can’t add players to a sign-and-trade. So adding sweeteners like forward Cameron Johnson or All-Defensive Team member Mikal Bridges isn’t really an option.

Launderer’s reportJake Fischer reports that the Nets would only go through with the deal if it included Devin Booker anyway. That makes sense for the Nets but not for the Suns. This is why this trade appears to be a long shot.

4. Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls also have a relatively simple Kevin Durant trade to make with the Nets. The Bulls could sign and trade Zach Lavine. Again, though, that rules out sweeteners like potential future two-way star Patrick Williams. The Bulls could try to make DeMar DeRozan and Williams, but at 32, DeRozen isn’t as attractive as Lavine.

Still, that would give the Bulls a hypothetical starting five of Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Lavine, Durant and Nikola Vucevic. And the Nets would walk away with likely five starters Kyrie Irving, DeRozen, Ben Simmons, Williams and Nic Claxton.

Both of these lineups are absolutely playoff contenders. But championship level? I am not sure.

3. Miami Heat

The Miami Heat would top Kevin Durant’s favorite trade destinations and the betting favorite (+300) to land him.

A Jimmy Butler/Kevin Durant couple would be terrifying in the East. It’s just a matter of who the Heat could keep around that gives this Durant trade more intrigue. The Nets probably wouldn’t want Kyle Lowry back with Kyrie and Simmons already there.

The Nets could likely extract Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, Max Strus and 2022 No. 1 pick Nikola Jovic from Miami. The problem is, because Bam Adebayo is on a rookie max extension — like Simmons — NBA rules prevent the Nets from negotiating for him.

The Nets could get a ready-made team from Miami of Pat Riley and the Heat, but is this team worthy of giving up a top-five player in the league?

2. New York Knicks

The value of the Kevin Durant trade scenario with the New York Knicks would be worth its weight in gold. However, upon closer examination, it’s not as bizarre as it first appears.

The Knicks just cleared nearly $30 million in cap space by trading Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks and Kemba Walker. The team could raise up to $32 million more by finding takers for Evan Fournier and Derrick Rose.

That cap room means the Knicks could potentially add Durant along with RJ Barrett, Julius Randle and the rumored free agent signing Jalen Brunson. The team could give young Brooklyn prospects Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley and Cam Reddish, along with a slew of picks the front office picked up in recent drafts.

The NYC backpages would have a field day with the trade, but that might be Brooklyn’s best long-term rebuilding option.

1. Memphis Grizzlies

Kevin Durant | J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday RM via Getty Images

The Memphis Grizzlies are a fascinating business partner for Kevin Durant, but the sticking point here would likely revolve around one player: Jaren Jackson Jr.

A Ja Morant/KD combo would be elite. A Morant, Durant, Jackson trio could be deadly.

A package of Steven Adams, Dillon Brooks, Desmond Bane and maybe 2021 first-rounder Ziaire Williams or 2022 first-rounder David Roddy could make the deal work. Would the Nets do the trick without getting Memphis’ biggest potential future star (apart from Morant), though?

If the basic trade package became Durant for Jackson, Brooks and Bane, it would be one of the most balanced deals on this list and would work well for both parties.

All contract figures courtesy of spotrac

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