Within minutes of the Brooklyn Nets trading gruntled-turned-disgruntled Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks, for a very good haul I might add, Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes announced that the Phoenix Suns once again have their eyes on a much bigger prize: Kevin Durant.
This after the Suns had reportedly offered Chris Paul, Jae Crowder and picks for Kyrie this weekend.
Sources: Brooklyn Nets received Los Angeles Lakers’ proposal that did include team’s two first-round picks (2027, 2029) and Phoenix Suns’ offer of Chris Paul, Jae Crowder and unspecified picks: @NBATV pic.twitter.com/cJuABbaYGy— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 6, 2023
Oh no. We’ll have to unpack the Chris Paul part in another article. Not here. That’s a... holy crap... but let’s refocus.
Now, the Suns apparently are sniffing around on Durant again.
Here we go again. Kyrie is out, on his way to Dallas, leaving Durant with a co-star in Spencer Dinwiddie that wasn’t good enough for Luka Doncic and has never been a number two before that. You can bet the Nets aren’t done dealing yet — it’s just unknown if that means trading Durant away or finding him a better costar in the next few days.
Durant — still rehabbing that knee, but due back any day now — has to make a decision too. Will he demand a trade again, or trust the Nets to put a championship team around him?
The Suns are banking on the former, per Chris Haynes.
And we have this from our own Flex, who definitely has sources with inside information.
The Suns were absolutely discussing Kyrie Irving but once again the opportunity to pursue & potentially land Kevin Durant was too much for them to ignore! That's the guy they ultimately want and so we're right back to where we were this Summer! Hate it or Love it here we go again— FLEX From Jersey (@FlexFromJersey) February 5, 2023
That’s a problem for Suns fans.
The Suns are fixated on that one shining star again, potentially at the expense of upgrades elsewhere. If we’re lucky, they will want to know real quick on Durant this time, rather than simply wait by the phone with all their assets in their hands until noon AZ time on Thursday.
But oh yeah, they almost certainly CAN’T complete any big big deals until their new owner is officially in place, right?
New owner Mat Ishbia is set to be introduced to Phoenix Suns media and the fanbase on Wednesday, February 8. Sometime before that — but not yet, as of Sunday evening February 5 — he will be voted in by the NBA’s Board of Governors (the other 29 owners).
But how much sooner? And will it be too late?
Suns President of Basketball Operations James Jones is walking across a narrow beam. A hundred feet off the ground. In heels.
Jones can negotiate trades all he wants, but he needs ownership approval to actually consummate anything. You can bet Ishbia is already giving direction, quietly, informally, through outgoing governor Sarver to interim governor Garvin. Like Baelish in GOT.
But he can’t be public yet. Not until the Board of Governors approves him. And you can bet he won’t let someone else take credit for approving a big deal, like acquiring Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant — or anyone else with a big profile in the league.
I’d be willing to bet that the Suns offer of CP, Crowder and picks was contingent on not finalizing the deal until Ishbia is in place.
Imagine his intro press conference on Wednesday, having to say “Yeah that’s nice we were able to acquire _____ to bolster our championship odds. Good job, James and Robert!” He’s going to want to say he had a big hand in it.
So I’m guessing Jones has to stall any big trade until Ishbia is announced.
I mean, it’s quite possible a Kyrie deal failed because the Nets wanted an answer NOW and the Suns might have asked for a few more days. It’s possible.
And that might impact other big deals this week as well, especially if a team is making deals in order to make OTHER deals. Like the Nets for example. They don’t have control of their picks for another five years — you can bet they won’t come out of the trade deadline with a team headlined by Spencer Dinwiddie and Deandre Ayton or Mikal Bridges. They’ll want to flip those guys again, for something better.
Oof. Stay tuned, Suns fans.