As if there wasn’t enough going on with the Philadelphia 76ers and in the NBA world before the start of free agency, the most valuable trade target possibly in NBA history has just become available. The Athletic’s Shams Charania has reported that Kevin Durant has requested that the Brooklyn Nets trade him after three seasons with the team.
As shocking as the news is, it’s also rather expected considering everything that has gone on over the past weeks, months, and even the whole year. As of late, however, if Kevin Durant were to have looked around, he would have seen that James Harden was no longer in Brooklyn, Kyrie Irving was not far behind in terms of a potential exit, and all that would be left with the two-time champion would be one Benjamin Simmons. It’s not surprising at all that he is forcing his way out.
At the top of Durant’s list of preferred locations are the Phoenix Suns, who are believed to be his first choice, and the Miami Heat. This is per Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, who mentions the connection earlier this week between the teams and Durant.
Noticeably absent for Philly fans are the Philadelphia 76ers. That was the case at least until Jack Settleman of Underdog Fantasy claimed that sources had informed him of a strong push by Philadelphia to acquire Durant.
Take that 76ers rumor with a Texas-sized grain of salt.
It’s almost certain that Philadelphia called Brooklyn almost immediately following the news. What’s harder to believe is the Nets being receptive to any off that the 76ers can present. Tyrese Maxey would certainly be at the center of the discussions, but from there, the list of assets gets significantly less impressive. Tobias Harris would be included for salary purposes, while Matisse Thybulle and second-year guard Jaden Springer would like to be included also.
The Philadelphia 76ers do not own a first-round pick until the year 2029, thanks to the last trade with the Nets that, for lack of a better term, “netted” them James Harden. Most of their assets are now drained, but if Durant signals that Philadelphia is, by a wide margin, his preferred destination, there may still be a path.
Kevin Durant’s next team will partially be decided by what they can offer but also, of course, where he’d like to play. A lot of factors could go into that decision, from talent to location (Phoenix and Miami), but it’s not unreasonable to suggest that he would be against playing for a contender in an area near his business ventures.
Durant co-owns media/investment empire Thirty-Five Ventures with his business partner/manager Rich Kleiman. That business is based out of New York City. Durant is also a part-owner of the Philadelphia Union, the MLS team in the city.
It’s a stretch, but there is a scenario where Durant is convinced that he can compete and stay close to his businesses at the same time. There only place where that is possible, of course, is Philadelphia. If there is a deal to be had, Daryl Morey and the 76ers must do all that they can to get it done though the outlook is not overly encouraging.