With Kyrie Irving announcing his decision to opt into the final year of his deal, it settled down all the trade rumors involving him and Kevin Durant.
While both players could still be wearing new jerseys before October, there is a sense that the Nets will go into the next campaign with mostly the same roster they have now.
But if they do decide to trade Durant, and start over completely, they could get a pretty lucrative haul in return. Alex Schiffer, Sam Amick, and Joe Vardon of The Athletic recently broke it down:
"I will let you two speak to the bigger picture on a Durant departure, but I do think it’s worth noting this wouldn’t be a 1:1 of the situation the Nets’ were in after the infamous Celtics trade in 2013. Yes, the Rockets own a ton of their future picks. But for starters, Durant would command a bounty of a return, which gives them the assets to quickly start a rebuild. Given Marks and Tsai are in lockstep, I have a hard time believing Marks’ job is on the line if he’s on the same page with ownership. Marks has said before that he consults Irving and Durant on some of the organization’s major decisions and said as recently as May that Durant wouldn’t be surprised by anything that happens. So I would think he’s had a heads up to all of this even if he doesn’t like it. As for a Durant return, I asked a league source a few days ago about such a deal and the reply was, 'Look up the Anthony Davis trade to the Lakers and start there.'”
Back in 2019, the Lakers sent Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, and multiple first-round picks for Davis, who was more than ready to leave the Pelicans.
Durant isn't going anywhere (for now) but he could set the Nets up really nice if they do decide to trade him. As a former MVP, multiple-time All-Star, and one of the greatest scorers in NBA history, Durant is just one of those guys that are truly invaluable.
At this point, the Nets might actually be better off trading him and starting over with a pool of assets.