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Kevin Durant’s quest to find a new home as he waits for a trade from the Brooklyn Nets could take him to a place he knows very well.
Appearing on ESPN-Radio, Marc J. Spears of Andscape called the Golden State Warriors a team to “keep an eye on” for Durant. Spears later took to Twitter to give more context to his report:
Spears noted the Warriors “could” potentially offer the best package for both sides, with a deal involving Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga and James Wiseman.
Per ESPN’s Adrian WojnarowskiDurant has the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat among the teams on his preferred list of trade destinations.
Even though the Warriors have the pieces necessary to potentially make a run at Durant, it’s unclear if they would seriously consider doing it.
General manager Bob Myers has been very strategic about maximizing this current window with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green and keeping an eye on the future.
There was a lot of speculation prior to the 2020 NBA draft that Golden State could move the No. 2 overall pick for a win-now piece. Instead, the Warriors used it to select Wiseman.
Myers has lost some of his roster depth from the 2021-22 title team because of the team’s massive payroll and luxury tax bill. Gary Payton II and Juan Toscano-Anderson found new homes early in free agency.
Anthony Slater @anthonyvslater
Warriors were unwilling to meet that high of a price tag (and resulting tax spike) for Gary Payton II and have now lost their defensive ace off the bench to the Blazers. He led the NBA in steals per 36 minutes last season. https://t.co/iaY6xmUrG7
Poole has one more guaranteed season on his rookie contract. The 23-year-old is eligible for an extension this summer, with Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle reporting last month an offer would likely have to start at four years, $100 million.
Perhaps a more significant question than what the Warriors would have to give up is, would Durant want to go back to Golden State?
After Durant made his trade request, Wojnarowski said on Friday’s episode of get-up that Golden State’s title win this season played a role in his decision to want out of Brooklyn (starts at 3:10 mark).
“I think it exasperated Kevin Durant’s frustration,” Wojnarowski said. “I think it’s the narrative that surrounded him that he dealt with in the aftermath of him leaving Golden State and then going on to win a title without him, contrasted with what has gone on in Brooklyn in these last three years.”
In a September 2019 interview with JR Moehringer of the wall street journalDurant said he “definitely felt accepted” by the Warriors when he was there.
“But I’ll never be one of those guys,” he added. “I didn’t get drafted there… Steph Curry, obviously drafted there. Andre Iguodala, won the first Finals, first championship. Klay Thompson, drafted there. Draymond Green, drafted there. And the rest of the guys kind of rehabilitated their careers there.”
The Nets made the playoffs in each of the past two seasons with Durant, but they only had one series victory (2021 first round). They were swept in the first round this season by the Boston Celtics.
Durant’s four-year, $194.2 million contract extension he signed in Aug. 2021 goes into effect for the 2022-23 season.
Given how much time is still left on Durant’s deal, he might not have as much ability to dictate where he ends up as superstars like Paul George and Anthony Davis did in recent years.
There’s certainly no harm in the Warriors kicking the tires on bringing back a player who was named NBA Finals MVP in his first two seasons with the organization. It would be bad business if Myers wasn’t calling the Nets to engage their interest.
Durant is still one of the biggest difference-makers in the NBA when he plays. The 12-time All-Star averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game in 55 starts for the Nets in 2021-22.