Kevin Durant trade is slowly turning into a nightmare for the Suns

What was once a dream move for Phoenix is slowly devolving into a worst-case scenario.
Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns
Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns have enjoyed an incredible run of success over the last four seasons. In fact, they have the most total wins in the association over that span with 209, one more than the Boston Celtics' 208 wins. The excellence that has been maintained in the organization can be attributed to everything from the players to the coaches and upper management.

But no one is without flaws. And as more and more time passes, we are beginning to see that Phoenix's blockbuster trade for Kevin Durant in 2023 was perhaps not all it has cracked up to be. The Suns have won just one playoff series since then, and their future is far from the brightest.

Let's take a look back at where Phoenix was before the trade took place. The 2020-21 season was where the Suns' run of greatness truly began. They rolled to the second-best record in the Western Conference that season, taking down everyone in the West playoffs en route to their first NBA Finals appearance in 28 years.

They of course fell to the Bucks in six games in the Finals, but they were primed to make a return to that stage in short order with plenty of young talent and draft picks to their name. The next year, they were just a game away from reaching the Western Conference Finals in consecutive years, but were ultimately defeated due to a behemoth performance from Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.

The Kevin Durant trade will hinder the Suns long-term

After setting a franchise record with 64 wins in 2021-22, the Suns came out of the gate with inconsistent performances to start the 2022-23 season. By the time January rolled around, they were looking at a 21-24 overall record and something was going to have to change for them to make another deep run into the postseason.

This ultimately led to Phoenix's decision to trade for Kevin Durant, who they acquired from the Brooklyn Nets for Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, four first-round picks, a first-round pick swap, and two second-round picks. At the time, the deal almost seemed like a cheat code that would allow the Suns to take the quick path to a championship. As it turned out, reality was a little more complicated.

Phoenix's new roster still needed time to develop chemistry, and they lost to the more well-rounded Denver Nuggets in the 2023 playoffs. Still, it seemed there was time to make things work. But after this past season, the hope for the future seems to be dwindling. Trading for Durant ultimately led to the Bradley Beal trade as well, and the team now finds itself in a very difficult position.

In acquiring KD, the Suns broke apart the roster that got them to the NBA Finals. They discarded a proven group to push all their chips to the center of the table for an aging superstar. In trading away their depth, they have slowly but painfully learned that top-heavy, big-three style teams no longer work in the NBA.

Kevin Durant is still a fantastic player, but we are seeing that he is not going to be able to erase the mistakes of this front office by himself. Phoenix is left with no draft picks, no depth, and no real ability to sign anything other than minimum contracts this summer. As time rolls on, it appears the Durant trade will only continue to hinder this team.