It took a variety of dominoes to fall for the Phoenix Suns to become Kevin Durant suitors this summer.
Those that want to take a major step back could point to Phoenix drafting Devin Booker seven years ago—who’s game the Slim Reaper has taken a liking to over the past few seasons. But this offseason alone we multiple things click perfectly that made KD to The Valley seem possible.
Even after a rough postseason outing, favor fell on Phoenix’s side when Brooklyn Nets ownership more or less turned its back on Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. A saga involving the front office’s refusal to give Irving a new deal to his liking gave Durant reason to request a trade, as the whole thing boiled into a nightmare for the Nets and a dream for the Suns.
Brooklyn essentially fumbled the bag. Unable to get that new deal, Irving opted into his active contract and Durant on cue requested a trade in the following days. As we all know, he named the Phoenix Suns as a favored destination.
That moment had to have Phoenix fans grinning from ear to ear. However, things have mellowed out since. Both Durant and Irving remain with the Nets due to stalling trade talks even with that Shams bomb having detonated close to a month ago.
Although every team, of course including the Suns, would love to have Durant, Irving has only drawn interest from the Los Angeles Lakers. A few weeks ago, Chris B. Haynes reported that the Lakers and Nets were indeed discussing a package for Irving centered around Russell Westbrook.
From a cap standpoint, the Lakers would almost certainly need to trade Westbrook to land Irving as well, assuming they would hang up the phone if Brooklyn GM Sean Marks asked about Anthony Davis or LeBron James’s availability.
From almost all angles, the only way Irving leaves Brooklyn is if Westbrook leaves Los Angles in his place.
But now a new report from Marc Stein threatens to take a Westbrook for Irving deal off the table. This morning, Stein reported that the Indiana Pacers might take on Westbrook after sending over Myles Turner and Buddy Hield. Stein did point out at that this deal is not close to completion, but regardless, the two sides are talking.
Since the Nets neglecting to bring back Irving on a long-term deal launched Durant’s exodus plan to begin with, him ultimately staying in Brooklyn might end it. If the Nets cannot dump Irving and consequentially make Durant happy again, why would they still engage in trade talks featuring him?
This would not be the first time the Indiana Pacers tried to thwart an offseason move by the Phoenix Suns. Just last week, Indiana tried to sign Deandre Ayton as a restricted free agent. Phoenix matched the offer sheet though—managing to hang onto their prized big man.
Going back to how this proposed Westbrook deal influences Durant and Irving though, we need to remind ourselves that this remains all speculation. We just had to connect several dots to reach this conclusion that Durant might want to stay in Brooklyn, all of which could collapse any day with a tweet from Woj.
As we all know, the NBA offseason is rollercoaster with leverage pulls, endless rumors, and jersey swap edits overflowing from its carts. Keep an eye out on Westbrook reports this week, but also keep your head on swivel.