The Phoenix Suns are making a bold move by acquiring Kevin Durant, a 13-time All-Star, in a blockbuster trade. The Suns are taking a big risk to bring in a player of Durant’s caliber and hope that he can help lead them to success. On the other hand, the Brooklyn Nets, after trading Kyrie Irving to the Mavericks, are shifting their focus toward youth and future prospects.
The Nets have acquired talented players and a collection of draft picks, which they hope will help build a strong and competitive team for years to come. With these moves, both teams are positioning themselves for success and are looking to make an impact in the upcoming season.
Early Thursday morning, the trade was confirmed.
- Suns receive: Kevin Durant, T.J. Warren
- Nets receive:Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Jae Crowder, four unprotected first-round picks (2023, 2025, 2027, 2029), 2028 pick swap
What grade did each of these teams earn? Let’s break down the deal from every angle.
Suns trade grade: A+
The Phoenix Suns, who were thought to be in the midst of a championship drought, have shocked the league by acquiring the highly coveted Kevin Durant. Prior to his injury, Durant was a dominant force on the court, averaging 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game, while shooting 55.9% from the field and 93.4% from the free throw line.
The addition of Durant to a talented roster that includes Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton instantly propels the Suns back into the upper echelon of Western Conference contenders. The trade is also a financial win for the Suns, as it allows them to move on from the unhappy Crowder and not have to worry about paying Johnson, who will become a restricted free agent in the summer.
Although the Suns lose some depth and two young players who fit well into their system, they gain a player of Durant’s caliber, which more than compensates for their loss. In addition, the acquisition of Warren in the deal provides the Suns with a valuable scoring threat off the bench, who has a career 3-point shooting average of 35.5%.
With the Western Conference landscape being highly competitive, the Suns’ acquisition of Durant is seen as a home run for the franchise. The Suns are now poised to make a deep playoff run and compete for a championship.
Kevin Durant contract details
Durant signed a four-year, $197 million extension in the 2021 offseason. That deal runs through 2025-26.
Nets trade grade: B-
In today’s NBA, where the trade market is highly inflated, the return the Brooklyn Nets received for trading Kevin Durant is considered satisfactory. Ideally, when trading a top-5 player like Durant, you want to receive at least an All-Star in return. The best piece in this trade deal is Bridges, who has the potential to reach that level of stardom in the near future.
Bridges has quickly become known as one of the league’s top young 3-and-D players. Johnson, who is a reliable shooter, had some shining moments during the Suns’ 2021 Finals run. As reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Crowder could also be traded before the deadline for future draft picks, which would further expand the scope of this valuable package.
Although in a vacuum, the return for Durant could have been greater, given his ability to carry a contender on his own, the Nets are in the midst of a rebuilding phase, following the trade of Irving to Dallas. Bringing in Bridges, Johnson, and future draft assets is a big win for the franchise in their rebuilding efforts.
Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Jae Crowder’s contract details
Mikal Bridges will receive a payment of $21 million in the initial season of his four-year extension contract worth $90.9 million, signed with the Suns.
Johnson, on the other hand, will make $5.9 million this season and will become a restricted free agent in the offseason.
Crowder, who is in the final year of his contract, will earn $10.2 million this season. He had signed a three-year contract worth $29.2 million prior to the 2020-2021 season.