Apart from summer workout videos, pretty much the only thing to monitor in the NBA world right now is the Kevin Durant situation. Training camps will begin in about a month, but we still aren’t really any closer to a deal actually taking place.
The latest update from The Athletic’s Shams Charania largely confirms more of the same things we’ve been hearing for some time. He reiterated that the Celtics, Raptors and Heat are “among the most serious threats to land Durant because they have the types of pieces necessary to satisfy the Nets’ asking price in a deal for the two-time NBA Finals MVP”.
Teams still aren’t meeting the Nets’ lofty asking price, though. The Celtics have been reported as the frontrunner with the best offer for Durant, but Charania mentioned that they still haven’t included Marcus Smart or Robert Williams in any offers. With the Raptors keeping Scottie Barnes off the table and the Heat having yet to “seriously engage” with an offer including Bam Adebayo, it’s hard to see those teams making an offer that the Nets will agree to unless they make those players available. Which, until further notice, isn’t happening.
As for the Sixers, Charania confirmed that the Sixers have expressed interest recently, but Philly’s conversations with Brooklyn didn’t get far (as has been the case with teams all around the league, by the looks of it):
The Philadelphia 76ers expressed recent interest in Durant while the Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets also inquired with the Nets in late June and early July to gauge the price tag, according to sources. The New Orleans Pelicans inquired with the Nets on June 30 as well but deemed All-Star Brandon Ingram as untouchable, sources said. Also in the past month, the Atlanta Hawks offered John Collins, De’Andre Hunter and a draft pick for Durant, according to sources.
None of those conversations gained much traction.
(It’s not hard to see why some conversations haven’t gotten far either — that reported Hawks offer is laughable.)
Apart from the Sixers continuing to show they’re interested in Durant, the main takeaway from Charania’s new report is that the Grizzlies have entered the mix. It remains to be seen exactly what combination of their players and picks could interest Brooklyn, but Memphis has “made new inquiries to the Nets about Durant,” per Charania.
In a follow-up tweet, Charania said that the Grizzlies won’t make Jaren Jackson Jr. or Desmond Bane available. So, just like other teams, the Grizzlies are still keeping their best offers off the table and seeing if the Nets will budge.
The Grizzlies have five first-round picks to theoretically utilize in a Kevin Durant trade, but sources say that they will not make Jaren Jackson Jr. or Desmond Bane available. More details: https://t.co/v0E9k9pA4s https://t.co/rqj9nZaxwI— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 22, 2022
As for other teams in the Western Conference, the Suns have always been a team on Durant’s reported list of preferred destinations and they’ve had interest. They have some eye-catching trade pieces as well, but Charania noted that a package of theirs including Mikal Bridges and a “handful” of first-round picks “has not picked up any steam with the Nets”. Deandre Ayton can’t be traded until January after signing his new four-year contract, and the Suns’ recent efforts to get creative with multi-team trade proposals haven’t worked, according to Charania.
In theory, the Sixers can make a fairly solid offer if they’re willing to include Tyrese Maxey in a deal (I’ll leave you to debate among yourselves whether that would be the right or wrong decision). Considering his second-year leap, rapid development, great contract situation, and age and upside, he has a lot of value. But if/when teams up their offers to finally satisfy the Nets, it’s still hard to see the Sixers beating every other team when considering their lack of other valuable players to offer and limited draft picks.
So, the Durant trade saga hasn’t quite been the whirlwind of drama that many of us probably thought it would be when his trade request was first reported. For now, it looks like conversations will be remaining slow as most teams express interest while offering as little as possible, waiting to see if the Nets get eager to move on from all this and lower their asking price.