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Don’t be discouraged if the KD era starts a little rough

We all know there will be a temptation to rush to a negative judgment. Let’s resist that urge.

Phoenix Suns Introduce Kevin Durant Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

I’m writing this for all the really heartbroken fans of Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson. Not that we weren’t all fans of those guys, but I mean the ones who are convinced the trade for Kevin Durant was a bad deal for the Phoenix Suns.

Time may prove you right. It may. But I’m writing to ask you now to withhold judgment until at least the playoffs begin.

Because let’s be honest: this is an adjustment. It’s a big adjustment. Bridges was the team’s top wing defender, an important role in the NBA. Cam is one of the premier three point snipers in the league. Both are guys who were core to the team. Durant, as uber-talented as he is, is new to the Suns, and there are bound to be some growing pains as the overhauled roster finds its own identity.

This team is built for the playoffs. In the postseason, ISO ball is pretty effective, and much more often than not the team with the greater star power triumphs over the one with less. Kevin Durant and Devin Booker represent as potent a three-level scoring attack as any team could want, and when you add in Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul as third and fourth options, that is a nightmare for any defense in the NBA.

Why do I even feel the need to say this? Because we all know that divisive negative tribalism can break out on Brightside sometimes. Fans of Goran Dragic and Ricky Rubio have, in the past, illustrated how big transactions can remain contentious for months and even years afterward.

And KD has been a divisive figure on a whole different level to begin with. Compared to some of his other superstar peers, he is often labeled as “soft” or “weak” for his decision to join the Golden State Warriors rather than commit to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

And I know for those who still feel upset about the trade, it will be a powerful temptation to re-litigate the issue every single chance it comes up. Every time the Suns lose. Any time KD has an off night. Any time Brooklyn wins. Any time Mikal has 20 points or Cam hits five threes. It’ll be easy to take the shot. We shouldn’t have done the trade, this deal is a bust, we ruined our core for nothing, etc.

If the Suns fail to make any noise in the playoffs, then that’s fair enough. Rake Mat Ishbia and James Jones over the coals. Tell everyone you told them told so.

But until these playoffs are over, let’s really give this a chance. Let’s avoid the temptation to fight about the trade, now that it’s over and done. We have a roster here with a real chance to contend for the franchise’s first ever NBA championship. It doesn’t mean you have to agree the trade was the right thing, because only time can do that. But let’s do our best to be united as we sheer the Suns through the final buzzer of 2023.

After that, I’ll be as ready to have it out as anyone.

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