If you went to bed early on Wednesday night, you missed some fireworks.
The Phoenix Suns, just hours after the introductory press conference of new owner Mat Ishbia, completed one of the most influential trades in franchise history. Kevin Durant, who was linked to the Phoenix Suns this offseason, was dealt to Phoenix from the Brooklyn Nets in a historic transaction that shifts power in the Western Conference.
BREAKING: The Phoenix Suns are nearing a blockbuster trade to acquire Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, sources tell ESPN. Durant wanted move to Suns, and new owner Mat Ishbia pushing to get deal done tonight.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 9, 2023
“Blockbuster” doesn’t quite describe what this trade means to the Suns organization. Superstars have come to Phoenix in the past, but this is arguably the most accomplished player Phoenix has ever traded for (Charles Barkley was younger and didn’t have quite the resume, Steve Nash was an off-season free agent signing, and Chris Paul still is looking for that ring). Like I said, “arguably”.
Kevin Durant is a top-15 player of all time in the NBA. He is a four-time scoring champion. He is a 10-time All NBA selection. He is a two time NBA champion.
You don’t get a future Hall of Fame player for nothing – unless it’s Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre, Ty Jerome, and some draft capital – and this time it came at quite the cost.
Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Jae, Crowder, and five first-round draft picks was the bounty that it took to bring KD to Phoenix.
The Suns are sending Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, four first-round picks, a 2028 pick swap for Durant and TJ Warren, sources tell ESPN. Durant wanted move and new owner Mat Ishbia pushed to get deal done tonight. https://t.co/fqFUMIDllo— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 9, 2023
Mikal Bridges increased his trade value in the time in which Devin Booker missed this season, as he posted a career high in points (17.2), rebounds (4.2) and assists (3.6). His increased offensive capabilities were a welcomed sight as the team needed to lean on him to be a scorer in Booker’s absence.
Cameron Johnson, who had recently recovered from a knee injury, was also doing well, scoring a career high in points (13.9). He took over as the team’s starting power forward in his third season, and while a rookie extension hadn’t been negotiated prior to the season, his play justified serious consideration as to what it would look like at the end of this year.
Jae Crowder hasn’t played this season, opting to sit out and wait for the Suns to find a place for him to play following undisclosed disagreements.
The draft capital the Suns will have to part with is hefty, including four unprotected picks and a 2028 pick swap.
Nets gets unprotected picks in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029, source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 9, 2023
Phoenix not only receives Kevin Durant, but former Phoenix Sun T.J. Warren will return as a part of the deal. Warren, who was selected #14 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, was traded to the Indiana Pacers for cash considerations in 2019.
Durant is currently nursing an MCL sprain and isn’t expected to be available for play until after the All-Star break. Regardless of the timetable of his return, there is no doubt that his addition creates havoc in the Western Conference. Opposing organizations must consider trade possibilities in order to guard Durant, and his price tag may drive the price for sellers.
There will be plenty more thoughts and analysis of this transaction. Stay tuned to Bright Side as we dissect this monumental moment in the organization.