The Phoenix Suns were reportedly one of the two teams Kevin Durant gave to the Brooklyn Nets as a preferred destination when he requested a trade. There were rumblings that the Nets would want Devin Booker back in a deal to send Durant to Phoenix, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who thought the Suns would entertain that idea.
As such, the belief was Phoenix would put together a package that revolved around restricted free agent big man Deandre Ayton. But on Thursday, that plan went up in smoke as he signed a 4-year, $133 million offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers, which the Suns promptly matched. This means that Ayton cannot be traded until Jan. 15, 2023, and he has veto power over trades for a year.
During a SportsCenter hit on Friday, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Phoenix now finds itself in a position where it might not have enough to meet Brooklyn’s reported sky-high asking price for Durant.
.@wojespn on how the Suns' pursuit of Kevin Durant is impacted now following Deandre Ayton's max offer sheet:
"For Phoenix, it probably leaves them without the assets to be competitive for a Kevin Durant trade." pic.twitter.com/sD4DzlD561
— Evan Sidery (@esidery) July 15, 2022
“For Phoenix, it really leaves them probably without the assets to be competitive for a Kevin Durant trade,” Wojnarowski said. “Again, Deandre Ayton can’t be traded until January 15, and again, not without his consent, and Devin Booker, who I think the Suns have no interest in trading, he can’t be traded, anyway, for a full year because of his new contract extension. So, I think ultimately the Suns are probably left short of what it will take to pry Kevin Durant out of Brooklyn.”
The Suns could put together a package involving Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Jae Crowder, and a bevy of draft capital, but as Wojnarowski notes, that does not seem to clear the bar Brooklyn set. Perhaps that changes as we get closer to the season if the Nets become ultra motivated to move Durant, or Durant starts to stir the pot in an effort to get moved. There’s also the chance Durant plays for the Nets to start next season and the Suns offer the aforementioned package with Ayton once Jan. 15 rolls around.