The Phoenix Suns weren’t going to sit the NBA Trade Deadline out. Not with Jae Crowder away from the team, and not after offering Chris Paul in a potential Kyrie Irving. It was clear they were going to do something. But late on Wednesday night, that something became everything.
Former MVP, two-time Finals MVP, four-time scoring champ, and 10-time All-NBA forward Kevin Durant is coming to the desert to join the Phoenix Suns. A trade worked out late on Trade Deadline’s Eve will bring Durant and former Suns forward T.J. Warren to Phoenix in exchange for Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, and four unprotected first-round picks, plus one future swap.
The Phoenix Suns traded for Kevin Durant in a blockbuster deal
It’s the kind of blockbuster trade that teams only dream about. This past offseason when Durant first made a trade request the Suns were among his preferred destinations, and Phoenix surely made a sizable offer, but a deal never materialized. When the Brooklyn Nets were winning games hand over fist earlier this season, that dream seemed the faintest of whispers.
And then everything came together. Kyrie Irving made sure the Nets couldn’t commit long-term to him, Durant went down with an MCL sprain, and Kyrie demanded a trade. Suddenly the possibility of a Durant trade was back on the table! When Brooklyn traded for the Dallas Mavericks’ package of two starters and a single first, it seemed to signal that they would keep Durant and push to win this season…..
That didn’t happen.
The draft haul is a lot to give up for Durant, but he was having an MVP season before his injury and is expected back sometime soon after the All-Star Break. With Devin Booker back in the lineup, the Suns have to feel good about their chances of making a late-season push up the standings and making noise in the playoffs.
The Suns will miss Mikal Bridges, one of the league’s best young wings and a player who continues to add to his offensive game (he’s already one of the league’s best perimeter defenders). Cam Johnson was playing well as a starter. Yet this deal wouldn’t have gotten done without their inclusion.
Does this deal make the Suns the favorites in the Western Conference? The Denver Nuggets look really good this season, and their core is finally healthy, but even they can’t match the postseason firepower of Durant and Booker. How the defense settles out, whether Chris Paul can regain his form, and how Deandre Ayton buys in with even fewer touches remains to be seen.
For now? For now, the Suns and their fans should celebrate the addition of the best player this team has had in a very long time. After a disheartening few months, the Suns are back on track and have the firepower to win at the highest levels.
Not bad for a Wednesday night.