Kevin Durant trade: 4 winners and losers from NBA blockbuster

It has happened. Folks back east will wake up Thursday morning with news that the Brooklyn Nets have pulled off a Kevin Durant trade.

Multiple media reports indicate that the two-time NBA Finals MVP is headed to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for young forwards Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges as well as veteran Jae Crowder, four first-round picks and a future pick swap.

The details of this trade are absolutely insane with an argument being made that it is the biggest blockbuster in the history of the Association.

Phoenix Suns getBrooklyn Nets get
Kevin DurantMikal Bridges
T.J. WarrenCam Johnson
Jae Crowder
1st-round pick in 2023
1st-round pick in 2025
1st-round pick in 2027
1st-round pick swap in 2028
1st-round pick in 2029
Details of Kevin Durant trade

This blockbuster comes the very same week that new Suns owner Mat Ishbia took over officially. He had made it an edict for general manager James Jones to get Devin Booker more help. He wasn’t messing around.

As for the Nets, their super team era is now officially over. The Durant trade comes less than 48 hours after general manager Sean Marks and Co. dealt embattled point guard Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks. Below, we look at four winners and losers from this blockbuster deal.

Related: Kevin Durant and the NBA’s top-50 players of 2023

Winner: Mat Ishbia and his first hours as the Phoenix Suns owner

kevin durant trade winners and losers: phoenix suns owner mat ishbia
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In his introductory press conference as the Suns owner mere hours before the Kevin Durant trade went down, Ishbia made it known that the time for standing pat and hoping for the best was over in Phoenix.

“The way we look at it is, how do we improve our team?” Ishbia said on Wednesday, via ESPN. “I’m not going to be sitting here counting the dollars. We’re going to focus on, how do we improve our team? If there’s a way to improve our team, we’re going to look at doing it.”

That’s exactly what the Suns did in acquiring a 13-time All-Star and one of the best players in NBA history. Durant now joins a Suns team that boasts one of the best one-two punches in the game with Durant and Devin Booker. Phoenix was also able to retain fellow future first ballot Hall of Famer Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton. This makes these Suns the odds-on favorites out west. What a welcome to Phoenix for Mr. Ishbia.

Related: Sportsnaut’s updated NBA power rankings

Loser: Kevin Durant’s Brooklyn Nets era

kevin durant trade winners and losers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

When Durant and Kyrie Irving came to the Nets as a packaged deal during the summer of 2019, they were the newest iteration of the NBA’s super team in an era filled with them. Durant turned in his Golden State Warriors gear and partnership with Stephen Curry in an attempt to build something in Brooklyn.

Fast forward less than four years, and the Durant-Irving era with the Nets resulted in a mere 74 games played together and all of seven playoff wins. It will go down as one of the worst experiments in the history of the NBA. It’s that simple.

Related: Kevin Durant and the NBA’s highest-paid players

Winner: Devin Booker gets a new running partner

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Brooklyn Nets
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Back in 2020-21, Booker led his Suns to a surprise NBA Finals appearance. At that point, they looked to be long-term contenders out west. This was taken to a whole new level last season with Phoenix boasting a league-best 64-18 record.

Unfortunately, everything came crashing down in the postseason. After defeating the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round, Phoenix fell to Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Semifinals. The culmination of that series was a blowout home loss in Game 7.

This was followed by months of drama surrounding then-owner Robert Sarver and allegations of workplace misconduct. Once the 2022-23 season started, Phoenix looked like a shell of its former self. The team sits at a mere 30-26 and as the fifth seed in the Western Conference.

Now, the entire on-court dynamic changes for Phoenix following the Kevin Durant blockbuster. Booker has that real true running partner. He’ll be able to live off Durant being double teamed, creating more open shots for the high-scoring guard. In the process, Booker becomes the face of one of the greatest shows in professional sports.

Related: Sportsnaut’s updated NBA trade tracker, including Kevin Durant blockbuster

Loser: Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks

NBA: New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the Durant trade happening, reports surfaced that the star forward was at odds with Brooklyn’s general manager. This dates back to the summer when Durant offered owner Joseph Tsai and ultimatum to either trade him or fire then-head coach Steve Nash and Mr. Marks.

Fast forward several months, and Marks is the last-man standing. Sure his Nets received a huge bounty for Durant. But a season that started with championship expectations has now gone up in flames within a matter of 48 hours. It’s now an open question whether Marks will even be around in Brooklyn to make those draft picks and build this team with his vision in mind.

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