NBA trade rumors: Surprise team is shaking up Kevin Durant landscape

Kevin Durant (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Kevin Durant (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /

A new team is now in the running for Brooklyn Nets star and trade piece Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant has requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, and while things have been reportedly slow-moving thus far, a new team joining the sweepstakes could be the catalyst needed to move things along.

To this point, the Nets have been fairly firm on not moving either of their remaining stars in Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant because they want win-now players back in return, something teams have been unwilling or unable to offer.

Most of the teams who are most interested in acquiring the likes of Durant or Irving, like the Lakers, don’t want to surrender their win-now pieces, and would prefer to send draft assets in order to add a star to an existing core rather than using either player as the sole centerpiece of a rebuild.

NBA trade rumors: Memphis Grizzlies join the running for Kevin Durant

Shams Charania dropped an update on Monday morning regarding Durant and Donovan Mitchell. According to The Athletic reporter’s column, the Memphis Grizzlies are now in the running for Kevin Durant (subscription required).

The Grizzlies’ unique makeup of young talent (which has agruably overperformed for Memphis over the last few years) and draft picks could shake up the landscape in the Durant sweepstakes in a dramatic fashion.

As Charania details in his piece, Memphis has five draft picks they could offer as well as several young pieces. He says that, unsuprisingly, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane are untouchable (as well as the obvious untouchable: Ja Morant) and would prefer to base a package primarily on draft picks.

Dillon Jackson, Brandon Clarke, and Ziare Williams are all players that could be on the move in a deal along with draft picks. That said, it’s hard to envision the Nets budging without the likes of Jackson or Bane included. Jackson, Clarke, and Williams would all be sweeteners but likely aren’t seen as deal-makers for the Nets in the context of losing Durant.

That doesn’t bode well for the Grizzlies chances to leap-frog bigger contenders, but Memphis’ asset pile that they could dip into looks a lot more like what the Nets are looking for.

Thus far, the most attractive trade packages have been in the Eastern Conference, with the Boston Celtics obtaining the assets for the package the Nets desire. The Nets may not want to move Durant to a direct conference competitor and could prefer sending him West. The Grizzlies fill that bill, along with the Phoenix Suns who could offer a somewhat similar package to Memphis.

According to Charania, Phoenix already offered a draft pick-heavy package to Brooklyn who denied the offer.

Regardless, one more team in the mix changes the landscape a little bit, which could get us one step closer to finding out Durant’s new home. For now, though, it seems like Brooklyn is content with patiently waiting for the right deal.

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