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Reports: Kevin Durant requests trade from Nets

The perennial All-Star sends shockwaves throughout the league hours before the NBA's free-agency period begins.

Kevin Durant made it known on June 30 that he wants out from Brooklyn. What happens next?

Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant has reportedly requested a trade, per multiple reports. The news of his request came hours before the beginning of NBA free agency and just a few days after his fellow star in Brooklyn, Kyrie Irving, opted into his contract for the 2022-23 season.

Per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Durant’s preferred destination is the Phoenix Suns, while Wojnarowski adds the Miami Heat (and the Suns) are among the teams on Durant’s wish list. The Associated Press reports the Nets have been working with Durant to find a trade partner, and he has multiple teams on his preferred list.

Nets general manager Sean Marks is working with Durant and his agent, Rich Kleiman, on trades, reports Wojnarowski. However, Wojnarowski also reports the Nets are seeking a trade that allows them the greatest return of assets and have reportedly been approached by half the teams in the NBA as to what it would take to acquire Durant.

Durant joined the Nets via a sign-and-trade deal in the summer of 2019 and signed a contract extension with the team last offseason. He is under contract through the 2025-26 season. Last season, he averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game while playing in 55 games — his most since the 2018-19 season — en route to earning All-NBA Second Team honors.

Durant is a 12-time All-Star, four-time scoring champion, three-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time NBA champion. He also has four years and nearly $200 million remaining on his contract, which means that it may take a haul of players, Draft picks or possibly both for a team to acquire him.

Durant spent three seasons with Brooklyn, not playing in the first of those years while he recovered from a torn Achilles. Last summer, he helped lead the U.S. to Olympic gold at the Tokyo Games.

The Phoenix Suns top the list of preferred destinations for Kevin Durant to be traded to. How likely would a move to the West be for him?

In a separate reported move Thursday, the Nets agreed to trade their 2023 first-round pick to the Utah Jazz for 3-and-D specialist Royce O’Neale. Additionally, per Sam Amick of The Athletic, the Nets are not planning to move Ben Simmons this offseason in the wake of Durant’s trade request.

The Nets returned this past season thinking title with their core of Irving, Durant and James Harden. It didn’t work out anywhere near as planned. Irving wasn’t with the team for the majority of the season, Harden ended up getting traded to Philadelphia, the Nets needed to survive the Play-In Tournament just to make the playoffs, and Brooklyn wound up getting swept in the first round by the eventual Eastern Conference champions, the Boston Celtics.

Durant and Irving are close friends who came to the Nets together in July 2019. Durant signed his own extension last summer, but had Irving not remained with the franchise next season, it certainly could have led to Durant pondering his own future in Brooklyn.

Irving had until Wednesday to inform the Nets of his opt-in decision. It closes one element of the ongoing saga regarding Irving’s future, which has been one of the biggest storylines as the league prepares for the start of free agency.

With young, affordable talent and some burgeoning stars in tow, Miami has a bevy of assets to offer Brooklyn in a potential Kevin Durant trade.

However, it may not be over. Irving could still have his contract extended before free agency begins. Also, the Nets could still trade him — and in fact, teams might be more interested in a deal now that Irving is on an expiring contract.

The Nets’ tumultuous season featured Irving missing 53 games because he was unvaccinated, 3-point marksman Joe Harris needing multiple surgeries on his injured ankle and Simmons being unable to play after he arrived.

With Durant, Irving and Harden, the Nets had expectations of being the last team standing, but instead, they were the first team sent packing.

After their playoff exit, the Nets acknowledged that all their distractions off the court kept them from becoming a great team on it.

“We had our expectations. Everybody had expectations for us,” Durant said in April. “A lot of stuff happened throughout the season that derailed us, but I’m proud of how we just kept fighting and kept keeping the faith and every day were trying to work towards something.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.