The NBA barely started free agency on June 30 when fans were rocked by the news that Kevin Durant may yet again be on the move to a fourth team in his esteemed career.
After just two seasons with the Brooklyn Nets, Durant has requested to be traded in a move that can stir the balance of power in the NBA.
Let’s explore the possibilities of which teams have a logical shot of winning the Durant sweepstakes and how the 6-foot-10 superstar can boost a franchise from an average contender to a possible championship-winning squad.
IRVING DECISION NOT ENOUGH TO SWAY KD?
Talks of Durant requesting a trade were not surprising to fans and sports circles. But that was when questions lingered early on whether Kyrie Irving would explore his options to move elsewhere.
But after Irving decided to opt in on his $37 million player option and fulfill his four-year deal with the Nets, Brooklyn fans felt that the All-Star guard and Durant would stay and try to lead the franchise on another deep playoff run.
The shocking announcement of Durant’s manager Rick Kleiman in his statement to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski regarding his client’s major decision puts the Nets’ management in disarray.
DURANT NO STRANGER TO SWITCHING TEAMS
This scenario is not new for Durant, who was drafted as the No.2 overall pick by the Seattle Supersonics in the 2007 NBA Draft before the franchise changed its name to the Oklahoma City Thunder the following season.
After spending nine years with the Thunder and leading the team to an NBA Finals appearance in 2012, Durant went to the Golden State Warriors for the 2016-17 season where he led the Dubs to back-to-back championships and won consecutive Finals MVPs as well.
Durant failed to steer the Warriors to a third title in an injury-riddled year in the 2018-19 season that led to a transfer to the Brooklyn Nets the following season. But he only got to play for Brooklyn in the 2020-21 season after spending a year recovering from an injury.
MAD CHASE FOR DURANT BEGINS
It’s a no-brainer that any team with cap space or trade assets in their roster would line up to check their chances of landing Durant, a two-time NBA champion who also made it among the NBA 75th Anniversary team.
Multiple reports said Durant prefers the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, or the Philadelphia 76ers as possible landing spots for his fourth team in his 14-year career.
With four years and nearly $200 million left on his current deal with the Nets, it would need a lot of expiring contracts, future draft picks, and cash for any other team to snatch the 33-year-old future Hall of Famer away from Brooklyn.
WILL KD STAY EAST OR MAKE WEST RETURN?
Fans are also intrigued as to which conference will be more crowded in the chase to the title depending on Durant’s latest move.
A bid to stay in the Eastern Conference means Durant could provide more firepower to already established teams like the Heat and the 76ers or be the alpha on the Knicks squad but with a bigger market.
But a return to the Western Conference after his earlier stints with the Thunder and the Warriors could mean Durant joining forces with LeBron James and Anthony Davis with the Lakers, or making the Suns, Mavericks, and Clippers elite contenders capable of dethroning the Dubs next season.