Kevin Durant trade rumors are the gifts that keep on giving during the NBA’s Summer of 2022. The future Hall-of-Famer reportedly wants out of Brooklyn, and every fan base worth its salt is concocting deals to steal him away from the Nets.
Portland Trail Blazers fans are no exception, as today’s Blazer’s Edge Mailbag indicates.
I recently read your reply email to the gentleman questioning whether we would have been able to make a Durant trade happen had we not dealt McCollum, Powell, Covington, and Nance.
My question is different in that I agree with your answer that Brooklyn wants young talent and draft picks to help them rebuild. My question is this:
If the Blazers are truly trying to build around Dame for a championship run, why wouldn’t they make an aggressive attempt to get Durant. On a 4 year deal, his timeline matches perfectly with Lillard’s. In addition, Lillards’ defensive weaknesses would be bolstered by have a lengthy 7 footer who can move roaming around the edges. It seems like the perfect pairing.
Wouldn’t the Nets be interested in a Simon’s, Sharpe, Little, Keon Johnson and a draft pick deal? I would even sub Hart in there for Little or Sharpe if needed.
With Lillard, Durant, Grant, and Nurk, you have a real shot at beating the warriors and Durant would love nothing more.
I’ve seen a few scenarios like this suggested. Here’s the problem.
First, I don’t believe Anfernee Simons, Shaedon Sharpe, Nassir Little, Keon Johnson, and a draft pick would pry Durant from Brooklyn. Even if they liked the package of young players—which they might not—they’re going to want three first-round picks and two pick exchanges, minimum, to get that deal done. Simons might interest them, but everyone else in that group is speculative. Their security against ending up with a single shooting guard in exchange for a perpetual All-Star would be stockpiling those picks for further use or trade.
Second, Portland would be mortgaging every future asset they own for Durant. This would 100% have to work—and deliver a championship—or they might as well have kept all those players, grown them, and ended up in four years with no rings, but an intact future.
Two seasons ago, we could have made a near-certain argument that Durant could lift the Blazers into contention. 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game last season still weigh heavily in his favor. But Durant will be 34 when the 2022-23 season starts. He played 55 games last year out of 82, 35 out of 72 the season before, and sat out the season before that entirely. That’s only 90 game out of a potential 226 appearances over that span.
I believe Durant will be healthier this season, but nobody plays 82 games anymore. He might not average 60 over the remainder of his contract. With the Blazers trading away all their depth in the deal to get him, they can’t absorb a mid-30’s Durant and still stay whole. If he were 29, they’d do this deal all day. It’d even make sense if he were 32, maybe. Right now, at that price, it doesn’t.
You’ve got a trade here where the talent is too sparse for Brooklyn to accept and the risk too great for Portland to accept. On paper, you’d probably call this a good move for the Blazers, but in context, they’d probably end up without a title and without any future growth prospects at the end of Durant’s tenure.
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