Grading all teams involved in Suns’ blockbuster Durant trade

Kevin Durant and Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Kevin Durant and Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges, Kevin Durant
Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges, Kevin Durant (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Grading the Suns on the Durant trade

The Phoenix Suns and new owner Matt Ishbia wasted no time pushing in their chips. Kevin Durant right now is right there with Steve Nash and Charles Barkley as the greatest players to ever play for the Suns, and his ability to score in the playoffs is better than either of them. Durant is a premium weapon and the new centerpiece of Phoenix’s arsenal.

Kevin Durant was playing at an MVP level before he went down with an MCL injury. He couldn’t be stopped inside of the arc and has the highest true shooting percentage of his career at 67.3 percent and a league-leading 93.4 percent from the free-throw line. He was locked in on defense and playing some of the best basketball of his career. Assuming that Durant returns from injury after the All-Star Break, the Suns should have the league’s best offense.

Did they give up too much? It was certainly a lot, but you don’t land a player like Durant without some aspect of pushing in all of your chips. Those picks out in the future are scary, as Paul is aging rapidly and Durant can be a free agent in 2026. Mikal Bridges filled a vital role on this team that isn’t easily replicated.

If the Suns win a title in the next three seasons, this deal is a home run. The real question is if the Suns are the favorites to do so. This season they have as good of a chance in the West as anyone, but the Denver Nuggets are potent and the Memphis Grizzlies are deep. Even a strong end to the season might mean the Suns have to go on the road to beat both.

Still, this deal adds a Top-5 player to a team that still has Devin Booker, with Chris Paul, Deandre Ayton, and role players around them. That’s a ton of firepower, and all of those core players have NBA Finals experience. If they are healthy, they have a very good chance of winning a title this year or next, and that’s why you make this trade.

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Grade: A