NBA executive thinks Kevin Durant could go back to New York

The NBA's wild offseason has not yet even begun, and already there are those who think Kevin Durant could go back to New York.
Phoenix Suns v New York Knicks
Phoenix Suns v New York Knicks / Rich Graessle/GettyImages

There is no escaping the fact that this offseason is going to be one that features the Phoenix Suns heavily. It was a given after their first round sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves, although how well that team have done in pushing the Denver Nuggets to a Game 7 actually tells us that perhaps the Suns aren't as bad as many thought after being brushed aside.

In any event their star trio of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal are going to end up in plenty of trade speculation. After all, moving on from one of them is the only real way this roster can improve ahead of next season, even if moving quickly to hire head coach Mike Budenholzer kept the fanbase on side for now.

Already there was baseless talk that Booker could head to the New York Knicks, and now Durant's name is being put forward as his next destination.

According to Erik Beaston of Bleacher Report - who in turn was quoting Sean Deveney of Heavy, which gives you some idea of how this offseason is going to go - one NBA executive believes the Knicks could instead be a "prime candidate" to go and get Durant this summer.

The reason for this? With the Knicks being contenders right now, going and getting a player of Durant's quality to add to their core would surely push them over the top in the Eastern Conference. Only that's exactly why the Suns also traded the farm to get Durant, and the idea of having a tandem of Booker and Beal is nowhere near as appealing.

There's most likely nothing to this - even if Durant was unhappy with his role in The Valley last season - but it is an intriguing prospect for the Suns to actually consider. In giving up so much to get him from the Brooklyn Nets, the Suns don't have either the depth or the future draft picks to be true contenders now or build towards a brighter future.

Being caught between those two places is the worst place to be in the league, and it is hard to see how it will dramatically improve while the Suns' roster is still so top-heavy. There is no way owner Mat Ishbia will entertain a full-scale rebuild, and he's not going to trade the franchise cornerstone Booker. With Beal still possessing a no-trade clause, the conversation then swings back to Durant.

What would a potential trade look like then? It is hard because the Suns have gone beyond the second apron in the new CBA, and so can't enter into some of the trade conversations that they normally would have. Surely then Julius Randle would be involved, as well as one - if not two - first round picks from the Knicks.

There is one more player who makes the salaries work here, and it is also somebody who the Suns would have interest in. That would be center Mitchell Robinson, who lost his starting spot in New York to Isaiah Hartenstein when he went down with an ankle injury in the opening round series win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Next. Ideal Suns' free agent target has playoff moment with Knicks. Ideal Suns' free agent target has playoff moment with Knicks. dark

Hartenstein is going to get a lot of money to remain with the Knicks, making Robinson expendable. From the perspective of the Suns, Robinson is also a better player than their current starting big man in Jusuf Nurkic. Giving up Durant then would get them a starting power forward/center tandem, and some first round picks to add cheap and young talent to their rotation in the coming years.

This isn't going to happen, but there's actually a bit more substance to this than you would think. Ishbia gave up so much to get Durant, so he's not just going to let him walk away less than two years after going all in for him. If he did though, the Knicks would be one of the most intriguing trade partners out there to make a deal work.