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Kevin Durant Watch going into Saturday

FLEX from Jersey dropped an update late Friday night

Utah Jazz v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

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:

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:

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!

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