Brooklyn Nets trade Kevin Durant to Suns

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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