It’s been a whirlwind of a 36-hour span since generational talent Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant made it known that he was seeking a trade with the Phoenix Suns at the top of his wish-list. As things finally started to feel like they were settling down, FLEX From Jersey dropped an update heading into Friday night:
Per league source a potential Blockbuster 3 team deal between PHX, BRK & Utah is being discussed & could be finalized tomorrow centered around Deandre Ayton to Utah, Donavan Mitchell to Brooklyn and Kevin Durant to Phoenix. Other players and picks are involved per league source pic.twitter.com/ZU2OYdjaVj— FLEX From Jersey (@FlexFromJersey) July 2, 2022
The waters remain murky on just how complicated this deal will be given the countless parameters in play. For example:
- As for rules regarding draft compensation, teams can only trade picks up to seven years in the future. Starting with 2023, this makes the furthest eligible picks to be traded fall in 2029. Teams also can’t trade consecutive picks straight up, instead trading swap rights in those cases, i.e. Brooklyn would get the better pick between theirs (currently belonging to Houston for the next five years) and Phoenix’s. To sum up, Phoenix would likely include seven total first round picks, with four (23, 25, 27, 29) being straight up and three (24, 26, 28) being pick swap rights.
- Brooklyn cannot receive Mitchell before ridding themselves of Ben Simmons, due to the designated rookie extension rule, which states that you can’t have more than one rookie max contract on your books at a time. It should, however, be noted that Simmons could be moved in a completely separate deal, doesn’t have to be in this one.
- If the deal Ayton signs is a rookie max, that complicates things further, given that Mitchell, Simmons, and Ayton would all fall under the rookie extension rule, likely forcing a fourth (though it could be even five or more) team to get involved.
- Ayton’s trade scenarios are at the mercy of Base Year Compensation (BYC). This means that his outgoing salary on Phoenix’s end is $15.25 million*, though they can take back as much as $19.1625 million. The team receiving Ayton has to send back a minimum of $24.32 million, rendering a straight-up “two-team trade involving Ayton on a max contract” to be illegal.
*These numbers are slightly higher with a higher cap that’s been proposed
As cumbersome as it can make times like these, the BYC does have good intentions when it was added to the CBA: prevent teams from signing players to inflated contracts for the purpose of flipping them for better players.
FLEX returned later in the night to provide some clarity on how close a deal actually is:
I can't stress this enough, this deal is much bigger than Ayton, Mitchell & Durant but there's serious motivation to try and get something done between these 3 teams involving those 3 specific players per source. Several other moving part and picks would be required to get done.— FLEX From Jersey (@FlexFromJersey) July 2, 2022
These updates coming shortly after Phoenix made their first new addition of the off-season, signing Damion Lee, from the Golden State Warriors — with one season of overlap with Durant in the Bay — to a minimum contract.
Lee being signed to a *minimum* contract, specifically, hasn’t been reported by any outlets yet, but it was made official on the NBA’s official transactions site; during the July moratorium period (ending on Jul. 8), the only new signings posted are the minimums.
Buckle up for a fun Saturday!