There is no secret that Kevin Durant is on the trading block after the superstar forward requested a trade following a season filled with never-ending drama and controversy. Much of that goes down to Kyrie Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated, whatever his reason might be. As a result, what was supposed to be a title contender for years to come has achieved nothing and will be on the brink of a massive blowout. It is amazing to imagine that at one point, the roster had Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden, but the Nets could not get together and push for a championship.
It is also no doubt that Durant is a top-5 player in the game and has a case for being the single best player in the world when taking into account his elite scoring ability and playoff experience. KD is fresh off a season where he averaged 29.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 6.4 APG on 51.8% FG, 38.3% 3-PT FG, and 91.0% FT. The superstar forward is an exceptional talent at scoring the ball, and he still made it look effortless despite playing on a team that was not going to achieve anything with the amount of drama on and off the court. When Durant is in the right situation, he is a championship player, as he had proven with the Golden State Warriors and even the Oklahoma City Thunder when he made the NBA Finals in 2012.
There are a ton of rumors floating around as to where KD will end up going, with teams such as the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat the favorites. It also seems that the superstar forward might have his mind set on joining the Suns, although that could be made interesting after the Suns are close to moving Deandre Ayton. As reported by Bleacher Report's Jeff Fischer: "The only thing is I’ve heard from people who would know is that KD has his heart set on Phoenix." No doubt, Phoenix would be a good place for KD, but would the Nets accept any trade offer that does not involve Devin Booker? Most likely not.
But one major team is flying under the radar: the Los Angeles Lakers. When the Lakers come to mind, the first thoughts immediately go towards Russell Westbrook and whether the point guard will be moved for Kyrie Irving to give LeBron James and Anthony Davis some help. But there could be a shocking trade scenario on the table where it is not Westbrook getting moved to Brooklyn, but LeBron James.
That’s right, LeBron James could be on the trading block if the right offer presents itself. The Lakers are all-in, after all, because Westbrook could be completely untradeable, and Anthony Davis is still only 29 years old and still in his prime. At this moment in time, Durant is a better player than LeBron James, and a swap of the two superstars could benefit the Lakers and give the Nets a star to continue to compete with. Could this deal actually go through? It is unlikely, but here is the trade package that could be offered and how it benefits both the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers.
Trade Package: LeBron James, Talen Horton-Tucker, 2026 First-Round Pick For Kevin Durant
Brooklyn Avoids Tanking, Makes The Playoffs Again With The King
It has been widely speculated and reported that the Brooklyn Nets do not want to simply die and roll over after they trade Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Rather, they want to remain competitive by all means, and it was shown by the move to acquire veteran defensive wing Royce O’Neal in exchange for a first-round pick. O’Neal is not a player that normally moves the needle, but why would a tanking franchise acquire a 29-year-old wing for a pick? Because the Nets aren’t tanking at all. They retained energetic center, Nic Claxton, for the near future, and have some nice pieces including 3-time All-Star Ben Simmons, who is trying to get back to the court. Not to mention, the Nets signed “Bubble” superstar T.J. Warren to a one-year contract to add more scoring and versatile perimeter play. If Brooklyn is going to lose Kevin Durant, why not get LeBron James in return?
With LeBron, the sky is the limit for Brooklyn. They can get Simmons to learn from one of the greatest players ever, and there is no secret that The King is fond of the Australian star. With LeBron and Simmons, the Nets have two franchise cornerstones to build upon. Of course, pieces such as Claxton and O’Neal can defend and do the dirty work around them. The biggest X-factor in this deal could be Kyrie Irving. The reason? Kyrie could be tempted to stay if he isn’t traded first. There is no doubt that LeBron and Irving fit perfectly together, and instead of playing together in Los Angeles, they can team up with the Nets alongside Ben Simmons.
This would be an extremely shrewd move by the Lakers and Nets, mainly because superstars of LeBron and Durant’s caliber do not get traded often, if at all. But LeBron could make the Nets more competitive than they were last year because of his ability to make others around him better. The Nets want maximum return for KD, and LeBron is the closest they will get since Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, and Joel Embiid are completely off the trading block. James has a tendency to raise the stakes on teams he joins, and the Nets could go all-in next year with the Eastern Conference wide-open.
Brooklyn will feel confident that LeBron, Simmons, Kyrie (possibly), and a host of role players could be enough to come out of the East. The Miami Heat have question marks after losing PJ Tucker, the 76ers are relying on an aging James Harden and injury-prone Joel Embiid, and the Boston Celtics have shown they are not ready to win just yet. Other than the Milwaukee Bucks, could the Nets trump everyone and become the favorites with LeBron? It could very well be possible.
The Lakers Shock The World And Become Contenders Again As Kevin Durant Fits With Westbrook Better Than LeBron
The fit of LeBron James and Russell Westbrook was probably the biggest reason why the Lakers failed to make any noise in the West last season, along with the injuries to Anthony Davis. Both stars need the ball in their hands to be effective, and there is no way Russ is a better playmaker and floor general than LeBron. That caused a ton of friction on the court, and neither player is considered an exceptional outside shooter. LeBron was decent at 35.9% from three, but Westbrook was abysmal with his 29.8% efficiency from deep. When LeBron had the ball, Westbrook was seemingly ineffective. Similarly, when Russ had the ball, James could not impose himself as he normally does.
It was a mess, to say the least. What is compounding this is the fact that Westbrook is almost untradeable at the moment, because no one wants to take on $47 million for an aging point guard that is clearly past his best. Instead of trying to endlessly find spare parts for Westbrook, the Lakers should go all-in for Kevin Durant by dangling their best player, LeBron James. As crazy as it sounds, it could work hypothetically.
For one, Durant and Davis are two players who cause unlimited matchup problems. These are two future Hall of Famers with incredible size and skill who can terrorize defenders inside and outside the paint. Defensively, they aren’t slouches either and can lead the charge on that end. Durant won’t be thrilled with reuniting with Westbrook, but Russ can assume his favorite role as the primary decision-maker. For years, Westbrook was Durant’s main point guard, and they achieved some success by making the Finals together in 2012. There is no reason why they can’t do it again with Anthony Davis by their side.
The Lakers are not known for trading their superstar players, but a player like Kevin Durant in his prime does not come around often. LeBron James is still an exceptional player, but he is on his last legs and probably won’t be around in another 2 or 3 seasons. Kevin Durant likely will, and so will Anthony Davis. The Lakers could pull a blockbuster deal and swap James for Durant because they need to make some changes before returning next season with the same roster as last year.
A Crazy Trade That Could Work
No doubt about it, seeing a trade that involves LeBron James and Kevin Durant switching teams is something that only occurs in video games. But the modern NBA is video-game-like since loyalty is completely out the window and player movement is at an all-time high. Durant wants to win championships, and so does LeBron James. But James cannot win with Westbrook by his side and most likely wants Kyrie Irving or at least another star player with solid role players. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant wants out of Brooklyn by all means necessary.
A blockbuster deal that sees the stars switch places gives each player what he is looking for. But this deal could also benefit both teams because the Nets do not want to tank and can possibly bring out the best of Ben Simmons with LeBron by his side. Of course, Kyrie could be tempted to stay and sort out any differences with management. Brooklyn does not want to tank, and with the East wide open, this is their chance to make big moves to acquire a top-5 player of all time to break every news outlet known to man.
The Lakers could also give up trying to find a team willing to take Russell Westbrook and instead give the former MVP the reigns to control the offense again. By placing Russ in his favored role and also getting Anthony Davis some help in the form of 4-time scoring champion Kevin Durant, the Lakers will easily be better than they were last year. Remember, the Lakers finished 21st in the NBA in Defensive Rating, 23rd in Offensive Rating, and 28th in Defense with 115.1 PPG allowed by opponents. Clearly, the Lakers were one of the worst teams in the league last year, which is shocking they had 3 superstar players in or close to their prime. With LeBron averaging 30.3 PPG and 8.2 RPG, how could the team falter to embarrassing standards? Because roster fit and chemistry mean everything in professional sports and the Lakers did not have that. Even the Brooklyn Nets felt that pain, as their chemistry was destroyed, with Kyrie Irving failing to get vaccinated and James Harden causing a ruckus yet again.
A swap to give the Lakers a player who fits perfectly alongside Westbrook and Davis while giving the Nets a true leader and legend of the game makes a ton of sense. It will take some guts to pull off a deal like this, but in the modern NBA, anything can happen.