Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Durant informed Nets owner Joe Tsai that he does not have faith in the Nets’ direction.
In a meeting with Nets owner Joe Tsai, Kevin Durant reiterated his trade request and informed Tsai that Tsai needs to choose between Durant or the pairing of general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash, sources say.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 8, 2022
The meeting between Durant and Tsai took place in London one year to the day Durant signed his extension with the Nets.
Durant’s recent request could just be his way of getting teams back to the bargaining table.
Brooklyn’s front office engaged with teams after his original trade request on June 30.
However, talks stalled because teams were not willing to meet the sky-high asking price for the soon-to-be 34-year-old superstar.
Durant’s original list of preferred teams was the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns.
Recent reporting from Ian Begley of SNY states that the list has expanded to include the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers.
There are a handful of other teams that are reportedly interested in the two-time champion’s services, but which two make the most sense?
2. Toronto Raptors
First up is the Toronto Raptors, a team not mentioned specifically in the introduction.
The Heat, Suns, and 76ers will have a hard time cobbling together viable trade packages without being able to or having any desire to include Bam Adebayo, Deandre Ayton, and Tyrese Maxey, respectively.
Boston will be discussed later, leaving us with the Raptors.
Toronto has dove headfirst into the recent NBA trend of stockpiling athletic wings.
14 of the 23 players rostered by the Raptors last year were between 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-9.
Durant wouldn’t exactly fit that mold at his height of 6-foot-10, but the Raptors would surely make a concession for the 12-time All-Star.
Toronto is reportedly unwilling to include Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes in any Durant trade talks.
Again, I don’t see the Raptors pulling the trigger on a Kevin Durant trade unless they can keep all three of Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes, and Fred VanVleet.
And the Nets would only accept such an offer if they’re absolutely desperate and there’s no roads left to go down.
— Chris Walder (@WalderSports) August 8, 2022
Even still, Toronto has plenty of other players and picks to package together.
Not to mention the Raptors own all their first-round draft picks through 2029.
Even without Barnes included, Brooklyn could do worse than a package of Anunoby, Trent, Achiuwa, and four first-round picks.
Toronto was a scrappy team last year who played hounding defense and effectively got out in transition.
When the game slowed down to a half-court affair, however, they struggled.
Durant would instantly add juice to their half-court offense.
A core of Durant, Siakam, Barnes, and Fred VanVleet is the making of a scary team in the East.
Not to mention Toronto has a history of success swinging trades for star forwards.
1. Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics remain the most logical suitor in a Durant trade.
They own their own first-round draft pick from 2024 through 2027 and have a bevy of second-round picks as well.
Jaylen Brown is the centerpiece most teams look for in any superstar trades.
And the Celtics have a deep enough roster that they can sacrifice a few pieces and not decimate their depth.
So far, the Nets have rejected a trade offer from the Celtics for Brown, Derrick White, and a draft pick.
The Nets and Celtics entered trade discussions for Kevin Durant, per @ShamsCharania
Boston reportedly offered Jaylen Brown, Derrick White and a draft pick for Durant, but the Nets also wanted Marcus Smart, more draft picks and potentially one more rotation player pic.twitter.com/qTvOQezcx3
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 25, 2022
Brooklyn countered with Brown, Marcus Smart, another rotation player, and draft picks for Durant.
However, Boston is hesitant to include Smart.
Regardless, the Celtics just went to the finals and had eight players average 11+ minutes per game.
This offseason, they lost none of those eight players while bringing in Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari.
That is 10 players who could theoretically play meaningful minutes in the NBA Finals, giving the Celtics flexibility in trades.
A three-for-one player swap in a Durant trade would still leave Boston with eight quality depth pieces.
On the court, the trade would still make sense.
Boston would be able to pair two elite NBA wings together while also staggering their minutes to ensure one is always on the court.
If Brown, White, and Williams end up being included in the trade, a starting lineup of Smart, Brogdon, Tatum, Durant, and Horford has elite two-way potential.
With Durant still having four years left on his deal, Brooklyn has all the power to trade him where they can get the best return.
It may just be that Boston can offer that package.