With the Nets receiving a fatal blow to their title hopes this week, the Kevin Durant sweepstakes have been given new life.
Despite no teams in the league wanting to pay the premium price for KD, there is a sense that he'll end up being traded sooner or later. Just like before, there are three teams currently leading the charge in trade talks: the Celtics, Raptors, and Heat.
After Durant’s trade request on June 30, the Nets engaged in conversations with almost every team in the league, according to sources. But because the Nets have set a sky-high threshold for the return the franchise wants for Durant — a two-time NBA champion, two-time Finals MVP, a former league MVP and 12-time All-Star — teams have not yet been able to meet the asking price.
The Celtics, Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat remain the most significant candidates to acquire Durant, sources said, with Boston’s package centering around All-Star forward Jaylen Brown seen as a viable deal. Tsai and the Nets have made clear privately that they will take every last asset from a team that trades for Durant, sources said.
In Boston, the Celtics are still looking to improve after their Finals loss, and Kevin Durant could be the piece that puts them over the top. If they can pull off a deal for him without giving up Jayson Tatum, it might just vault them to being the favorites in the East.
For the Raptors, Masai Ujiri is always on the hunt for a big-time deal. We've seen him take big risks before with the Kawhi Leonard trade, so it's not hard to see him making a deal for Durant. Even with KD, Toronto might need a few more acquisitions to get them where they want to be -- but fur years of Durant would open up a lot of possibilities for the franchise.
And, finally, there's the Heat. With very few moves made so far this summer, Miami seems to be waiting for either Durant or Donovan Mitchell. Either one of them would be a huge boost to the team.
Wherever Durant goes, his talent and experience will bring his team to new heights. It's only a matter of time before the real bidding war begins.