When Kevin Durant requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets last week, the common belief was that 28 other NBA teams should be interested in acquiring one of the greatest scorers in the history of the NBA. Some franchises might not have any shot, but they should all be interested.
The one team that could automatically be ruled out was the Warriors, considering their history with Durant and the fact that they just won the NBA title without him, right?
Not so fast.
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Andscape's Marc J. Spears reported Sunday, citing sources, that the Warriors in fact have "interest" in Durant, in addition to "half the league."
Spears went on ESPN Radio to further elaborate on why it makes sense.
"The one team I’m telling you guys to keep an eye on is the Golden State Warriors," Spears said. "Golden State could have the best package for both parties. Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, All-Star Andrew Wiggins, the former No. 2 pick James Wiseman. What the Nets want is a young All-Star and want perhaps a future All-Star. They’re all under 30. They also want picks, maybe the ability to swap picks. But if you can get those four players, if I’m the Nets, I’m very, very happy.
"For Kevin Durant, the Warriors -- they're very familiar with [Durant] and vice versa. He knows where to live in San Francisco. He knows how the offense works. He knows he can win a championship there. Yeah, Steve Kerr would probably have to figure some things out. But with each passing day that this carries on, I’ve heard the Warriors have interest in terms of a young haul, in terms of people being happy on both sides. To me, the Golden State option is the best option."
Now, that seems like a massive package of players for the Warriors to give up for Durant. And it is. But it's in line with Brooklyn's reported asking price.
The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski reported Friday, citing sources, that the Nets are asking for an "established All-Star and a mountain of picks."
Golden State Warriors
As unlikely as it would be for the Warriors to bring back Durant, the ironic part is that after everything they have been through since he left in 2019, they now have arguably the best package of young players available to acquire him. And unlike other teams vying for Durant, they wouldn't completely gut their roster to get it done.
Other teams trading one or two "established All-Stars" for Durant might not have a championship roster remaining. But the Warriors would still have Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney.
As for the draft pick part of the equation, the Warriors only have one future first-round pick tied up in another trade. Again, ironically, when Durant left in 2019, it forced Golden State to trade Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies and they attached their 2024 first-round pick with top-4 protection.
Barring a catastrophic collapse in the standings, the Warriors will convey that pick to the Grizzlies in 2024. That leaves the Warriors with their 2023, 2025, 2026, 2027, 2028 and 2029 picks to deal from.
The Utah Jazz got four future first-round picks from the Minnesota Timberwolves for Rudy Gobert. But the players they got back weren't as strong what the Warriors might potentially offer Brooklyn. Could the better player package reduce the number of draft picks in the deal? That remains to be seen.
Whether or not the Warriors are a legitimate contender to land Durant will be revealed over the next few days or weeks. They certainly are one of the teams best equipped to meet Brooklyn's asking price.
But would he even want to come back to a place he left because he never felt like he fit in? Would the Warriors even want to recreate the media circus that had descended on them from 2016 through 2019? Would Curry welcome Durant for a second time? Does it even make sense to trade all those young assets, who fit well within the Warriors' system and are the future of the franchise, for a guy who will turn 34 in September?
A reunion that seemed like a "non-starter" now has some legs. Time will tell if it was all a smokescreen or if the Super Villains will come back together.