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With or without DeAndre Ayton under contract, the Phoenix Suns will have a tough time trading for Kevin Durant this summer.
Ayton signed a record offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers, which the Suns seem inclined to match, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
While that may seem like good news initially, as Phoenix will avoid losing Ayton for nothing, it also eliminates the chance of a Durant trade involving the young big man. Ayton would have veto power over any trade for a full year.
Initially, Ayton was named as a potential sign-and-trade candidate with the Nets, though the Suns no longer have much interest in that option. It appears as though they’ll merely match the offer sheet.
Dealing for Durant without Ayton involved would be tough, if not impossible.
Phoenix Suns out of Kevin Durant sweepstakes
Without Ayton in play, the Suns new top trade package for Durant would merely involve draft picks and young talents such as Mikal Bridges as a centerpiece. As talented as Bridges can be, he’s not on Ayton’s level.
The Raptors and Warriors, meanwhile, can put together much more complete trade packages for KD. While Toronto prefers to avoid dealing away Scottie Barnes, he’s likely Brooklyn’s top ask. The Dubs can trade the likes of Andrew Wiggins plus young stars and picks, making them perhaps the most appetizing potential Durant destination from Brooklyn’s point of view.
The trade return for a player of KD’s caliber — a top NBA talent who remains in his prime — will be unprecedented. He is not a talent that can be matched by any one player, or even group of players. Yet, he wants out of Brooklyn. Something has to give.
Despite Durant reportedly naming Phoenix and Miami as two of his preferred trade destinations, the Suns no longer make much sense.
It was a fun dream while it lasted.