After the Suns matched the Indiana Pacers’ four-year, $133 million offer sheet to retain starting center Deandre Ayton, their next potential — and coveted — option is to successfully trade for Brooklyn Nets superstar forward Kevin Durant.
With Phoenix securing Ayton, it will exceed the $150.2 million luxury tax threshold. With current contracts totaled, the team is at $167.2 million, per SpotTrac, and its estimated luxury tax bill is currently at $34.9 million.
Suns owner Robert Sarver and general manager James Jones have made it clear they will do whatever it takes to win, according to Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s John Gambadoro, and pay up to a luxury tax bill of $100 million. If Phoenix were to acquire Durant, it would need to pay near that amount, even if it trades using the minimum salary allowed ($35.3 million) and fills out the roster with veteran minimum contracts.
So, is it possible? Yes. But it is conceivably becoming less likely.
On Monday, former New York Times and ESPN reporter Marc Stein said the Suns remain a contending team for Durant, though they are “less than flush” with the trade assets the Nets covet. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Brooklyn is seeking “a star player or high-level star players” to be at the center of the deal, which could involve the Suns giving up starting forward and Defensive Player of the Year runner-up Mikal Bridges.
Flex From Jersey, a popular Twitter user who has broken multiple stories on the Suns ahead of national and local media outlets, has said on his “Coast to Coast” podcast that Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell could be involved in a multiple-team trade with Brooklyn involving the Suns. He also said a deal for Durant remains possible, even without Ayton as a piece of it.
The Nets reportedly would prefer to keep Durant if no one can match their request. So, that means the Suns might have to increase their trade package — which may include Bridges — to make that happen.
The possibility of including Bridges makes more sense now that the Suns have retained Ayton. Even if it parts with their starting small forward, backup forward Cameron Johnson and starting forward Jae Crowder, Phoenix could have a deadly lineup with guards Chris Paul and Devin Booker, Durant and Ayton.
What do you think, Suns fans? Is this something you believe is still feasible with the market at hand? Comment below and let us know what you think.