Kevin Durant’s life in Brooklyn ended early Thursday when the Nets agreed to a trade to the Phoenix Suns, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
The Suns will send Kam Johnson, Mychal Bridges, Jae Crowder, four first-round picks, and extra draft compensation to the Nets to earn a 13-time All-Star.
The Suns will also receive forward T.J. Warren in the deal, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal is not yet official.
Durant, 34, continues to play at an elite level this season, averaging nearly 30 points per game. He asked for a trade last summer, and the Suns were also interested, but they finally got him before the 3 p.m. deadline on Thursday. EST.
He’s recovering from a sprained knee ligament, and when he returns, suddenly he’s in a Phoenix lineup that could be one of the best in the Western Conference.
Durant was traded just days after the Nets traded Kyrie Irving from Dallas, ending his superstardom in Brooklyn surprisingly quickly. Last year, James Harden was traded on a deadline, leaving the Nets with little to show in their short stint with the Big 3.
Now with Devin Booker, Chris Paul, DeAndre Ayton and Durant joining forces, the Suns have an incredible talent pool.
The trade comes just hours after Suns’ new majority owner Matt Ishbia was introduced in Phoenix. The self-described basketball fanatic, who was an intern under Tom Izzo at Michigan State, didn’t take the time to shake up the NBA.
Phoenix has never won an NBA championship. The Suns made it to the NBA Finals two seasons ago, but lost in the sixth inning to the Milwaukee Bucks. They also reached the finals in 1976 and 1993.
After a number of injuries this season, the Suns have played better in recent weeks and look like championship favorites again. They finished fifth in the Western Conference with a 30–26 record. Booker (groin) and Paul (lumbar) recently returned.
Upon hearing the news, Irvine said, “I’m glad it came out.”
Irving scored 24 points in his Mavs debut Wednesday against the Clippers. The Nets’ refusal of a contract extension came around the same time that Durant was telling teams he wanted to be traded.
After all, Irving left, and so did Durant.
“We had a lot of conversations over the course of the year about what our future would be like,” Irving said. I never felt that he was angry with me for any decision I made, or that I was angry with him, whether I was with him or away.”
“I like competition now that we can compete in the same competition.”
Bridges finished second only to Boston’s Marcus Smart as Defensive Player of the Year last season and continues to improve offensively. The swingman scored 21 points in a 116–112 win over the Nets in Brooklyn on Tuesday.
His acquisition, along with Dorian Phinneysmith, who joined Spencer Dinwiddie from Dallas, should make the Nets a stronger team defensively. But making up for the loss of two All-Star starters in Durant and Irving seems impossible.
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