Hours after Mat Ishbia took over as owner of the Phoenix Suns, the team made a stunning acquisition, getting star forward Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets late Wednesday night, according to The Athletic and ESPN.
Durant and T.J. Warren are headed to Phoenix in exchange for Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Jae Crowder and four first-round draft picks, per the reports. ESPN added that the Nets will get a 2028 draft-pick exchange, too.
The Suns add Durant to an underachieving squad that sits at 30-26, tied for fourth place in the Western Conference. Phoenix reached the NBA Finals in 2020-21, then posted the best regular-season record in 2021-22 before falling to the Dallas Mavericks in the conference semifinals.
The NBA trade deadline is Thursday.
Durant’s exit from the Nets ends the sorry history of a ballyhooed “Big Three” that was expected to bring glory to Brooklyn.
Kyrie Irving signed a free-agent deal with the Nets in July 2021, and Durant joined up as a free agent the next month. When James Harden was acquired in a trade in February 2022, the Nets were viewed as a top contender, but injuries and Irving’s various off-court issues scuttled those hopes.
The Nets were swept in the first round of the playoffs last season. Harden exited as a free agent in July. Irving demanded a trade last week, then was dealt to the Mavericks on Monday, and now Durant is gone, too.
Durant, 34, won two NBA championships with the Golden State Warriors, won the NBA Most Valuable Player honor in 2013-14 and is a 13-time All-Star. He has been sidelined since Jan. 8 due to a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee.
In 39 games this season, Durant is averaging 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists. In his NBA career with the Seattle SuperSonics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State and Brooklyn, he has averages of 27.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
Warren, 29, played in just 20 games for the Nets after recovering from a foot injury that sidelined him all of last season. He averaged 9.5 points and 2.8 rebounds for Brooklyn, well below his career norms of 15.1 points and four rebounds.
Bridges, 26, made the NBA All-Defensive team last season. This season he was averaging a career-best 17.2 points plus 4.3 rebounds in 56 games for Phoenix, better than his career marks of 12.2 points and four rebounds.
Johnson, 26, was putting up a career-best 13.9 points plus 3.8 rebounds per contest in 17 games (16 starts) for Phoenix this season. For his career, he has averages of 10.7 points and 3.6 rebounds.
Crowder, 32, hasn’t played this season, with the forward and the Suns agreeing he would sit out until he could be traded. As he heads to the eighth team in his NBA career, he has averages of 9.6 points and 4.3 rebounds.
–Field Level Media