Grade the Trade: Suns regain their future by trading superstar in blockbuster pitch

The Phoenix Suns are trapped in team-building purgatory, but another team just made a move to go after a Suns superstar and give the team back its future.
Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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Details of a Kevin Durant blockbuster trade

The Houston Rockets have a roster packed with young prospects and expiring money, and on top of that own the No. 3 pick in this year's draft and have a bevy of future draft capital. That includes the Suns' own 2027 first-round pick and swaps in 2025 and 2029. There are a lot of different ways to build out a trade for Kevin Durant.

A couple of guardrails exist. The Phoenix Suns are well above the second tax apron, which means they are restricted in how they can execute trades. They cannot aggregate players in a deal, which means they can only send out one player per deal. Additionally, they cannot take back more money than they send out.

Phoenix has a desire to win right now, but trading Kevin Durant would recognize that roster retooling is necessary. They could try and thread the needle by adding win-now players and draft picks and then flipping those picks for veteran help, or they could invest in young prospects who can either grow into a new core around Devin Booker or be used in a trade at the deadline, next summer or beyond.

Here is one such trade construction that focuses more on the young talent than the win-now veterans:

Durant Rockets blockbuster

The Houston Rockets get their superstar centerpiece for their team and still have plenty left over to compete with him. A starting lineup of Fred VanVleet, Jae'Sean Tate, Dillon Brooks, Kevin Durant and Alperen Sengun would have a lot of upside, and Amen Thompson and Tari Eason would still be coming in off the bench. The Rockets would have a small amount of flexibility to add another contributor or two.

It's a steep price to pay for Durant, and likely only makes sense if they truly expect to contend for a title right away. Kevin Durant played at a Top-10 level last season without question, and he will elevate the Rockets significantly. Is he worth giving up such a large haul?

The answer is probably yes, which turns the spotlight to the Phoenix Suns. Would they make this deal?