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NBA Preview: July 18 - Kevin Durant’s Next Destination

By Lior Lampert

When Kevin Durant requested to be traded from the Brooklyn Nets not too long ago, the entire NBA community went into a frenzy. We have never seen a player of this calibre and stature request a trade. So, the question remains: what type of return should Brooklyn expect for Kevin Durant? What teams possess the assets to go out and make a reasonable offer for Durant?

When evaluating a player’s trade value, we must take everything into consideration: age, injury history, off-court value to the franchise and obviously their ability to perform on the court. Kevin Durant is 33 years old and has missed double-digit games in six of the last seven seasons. Although, when he is on the court, he is still arguably the most dangerous and gifted scorer in the entire league. Not to mention, he is one of the world’s most popular athletes who will increase the value of any franchise by default the second he arrives. So, what is a fair price to put on Durant? There is most certainly risk involved with trading for him, but he also has the potential to come in and completely change the complexion of a franchise overnight.

The Phoenix Suns were the favourites to land Durant prior to them matching the max offer sheet that the Indiana Pacers had offered to DeAndre Ayton. Prior to that decision, Ayton was the centrepiece of a package Phoenix was able to offer which consisted of Ayton, two-way star Mikal Bridges, 3-point specialist Cameron Johnson and a multitude of picks. Now with Ayton receiving his contract extension, he cannot be traded until January 15, making a trade with Phoenix much less likely. As a result, we have seen the Suns odds to acquire Durant drop via DraftKings Sportsbook. Phoenix has been overwhelmingly favoured to land Durant for quite some time now, but these moves have removed them from the sweepstakes for the time being.

The next team rumoured to be in on Durant are the Miami Heat. The Heat can offer a package revolving around reigning Sixth Man of the Year winner, Tyler Herro, in addition to players such as Duncan Robinson and Max Strus. However, the Heat have been reluctant to involve Bam Adebayo in discussions, which forces them to give Brooklyn a multitude of draft picks they do not have. As a result, I do not see Miami as a destination for Durant unless they show a willingness to include Adebayo and/or obtain more draft capital to include in their offer.

The most surprising team being mentioned in the Durant sweepstakes is the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors are no strangers to making a move like this: they took the risk of trading for Kawhi Leonard a few years ago without any guarantee he’d return and it got them a championship. Toronto President of Basketball Operations, Masai Ujiri, is not afraid to swing for the fences and is properly equipped to do so. They have a variety of young talent such as Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr., Malachi Flynn, and Precious Achiuwa in addition to two All-Star players they can include in Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet. I think Durant could start the year in Brooklyn, but that Toronto is Durant’s most likely destination at the moment given their aggressive front office and exciting assets.

My Pick: Kevin Durant Next Team – Toronto Raptors (+350 odds via DraftKings Sportsbook)

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