Kevin Durant’s time in Brooklyn ended Thursday when the Nets traded him to the Phoenix Suns as a part of a four-team deal.
The Nets acquired Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, first-round picks in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029, and a first-round decide swap in 2028 from the Suns, who additionally bought TJ Warren from the Nets.
The Nets additionally acquired second-round picks in 2028 and 2029 from Milwaukee and the draft rights to protect Juan Pablo Vaulet from Indiana within the deal, whereas Jae Crowder was re-routed from Phoenix to the Bucks through Brooklyn.
The 34-year-old Durant remains to be enjoying at an elite stage, averaging almost 30 factors per recreation this season. He requested for a commerce final summer season and the Suns have been , and eventually bought him earlier than Thursday’s commerce deadline.
The Nets, in the meantime, mentioned they felt the deal finest positioned them for future success.
“We stay steadfast in our dedication to constructing the group Brooklyn deserves,” normal supervisor Sean Marks mentioned in an announcement. “We’re excited to welcome Mikal, Cam and their households to Brooklyn and thank Kevin for the moments and reminiscences he delivered our fanbase.”
Durant is recovering from a sprained knee ligament, and when he returns it is going to be to a Phoenix line-up that instantly may very well be among the best within the Western Convention.
He was moved simply days after the Nets traded Kyrie Irving from Dallas, a stunningly quick finish to the celebrity period in Brooklyn. James Harden was traded eventually yr’s deadline, leaving the Nets with little to point out for the temporary time that they had the Large Three collectively.
Now it is the Suns with a prime assortment of expertise, with Durant becoming a member of Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton.
The commerce comes simply hours after new Suns majority proprietor Mat Ishbia was launched in Phoenix. The self-described basketball nut, who was a walk-on at Michigan State underneath Tom Izzo, did not waste any time shaking up the NBA.
Phoenix have by no means received a league championship. The Suns made the NBA Finals two seasons in the past, however misplaced to the Milwaukee Bucks in six video games. In addition they performed within the finals in 1976 and 1993.
The Suns have had a number of accidents this season, however have received 9 of their final 11 video games and appear to be contenders once more. They jumped to fifth within the Western Convention with a 30-26 report. Booker (groin) and Paul (hip) have each lately returned.
When Irving heard the information, he mentioned: “I am simply glad that he bought out of there.”
Irving scored 24 factors in his Mavs debut in opposition to the Clippers on Wednesday. The Nets refused to present him a contract extension final summer season, about the identical time Durant was telling the group he needed to be dealt.
Finally, Irving left and Durant adopted.
“We had numerous conversations all year long of what our futures have been going to appear to be,” Irving mentioned. “There was nonetheless a stage of uncertainty however we simply cared about seeing one another be locations that we will thrive. Whether or not that be collectively or whether or not that be aside, there has by no means been one second the place I’ve felt like he is been indignant at me for the selections I’ve made or I have been indignant at him.
“I simply love the competitors now that we may be in the identical convention.”
Bridges was the runner-up to Boston’s Marcus Good final season for the Defensive Participant of the 12 months award and his offensive recreation continues to develop. The swingman scored 21 factors Tuesday when the Suns beat the Nets 116-112 in Brooklyn.
His acquisition, together with Dorian Finney-Smith, who got here with Spencer Dinwiddie from Dallas, ought to make the Nets a a lot stronger defensive group. However these gamers cannot exchange the firepower the Nets misplaced with Durant and Irving, two All-Star starters.
Durant, a two-time NBA Finals MVP with Golden State, was enjoying a few of the finest basketball of his profession this season. He was averaging 29.7 factors and capturing a career-high 55.9% from the sector when he was harm Jan. 8 in Miami.
He had his knee checked once more this week and Nets coach Jacque Vaughn mentioned Durant was progressing properly, however there was no replace as to when he may start collaborating absolutely in practices.
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