It felt like we were on the verge of seeing one of the biggest blockbuster trades in NBA history late last week. Now it seems like that trade might not be happening as soon as we originally anticipated.
Durant and Irving Might be in Brooklyn Longer Than Expected
Kevin Durant’s request to be traded dominated the headlines on the evening that NBA free agency kicked off last week, and for a good reason. Durant’s future and the impending implosion of the Brooklyn Nets are as big of a story in the NBA right now, and it has significant implications for other teams outside of Brooklyn.
But, if you’re itching for some sort of conclusion to the drama in Brooklyn, you might not be happy to hear that things aren’t likely to come to a head soon. They might not even happen before the start of the season, per Bleacher Report‘s Jake Fischer. Which makes sense when you consider what one NBA source told Fischer when it comes to Brooklyn’s ask for Durant:
“Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and five picks still isn’t enough to me for KD,” one general manager told B/R.
Phoenix was reportedly near the top of Kevin Durant’s list of preferred destinations, and if the Nets are sharing that line of thinking, it might be some time before Durant (who has four years left on his deal in Brooklyn) finds a new home.
Last week’s trades that saw Rudy Gobert land in Minnesota for a whopping four first-rounders and Minnesota’s first-round selection from the draft, Walker Kessler, and Dejounte Murray land in Atlanta in exchange for three first-rounders and a pick swap have set the market for NBA teams right now. That market is sky high.
Brooklyn can look at Gobert’s return in Utah and say that if Gobert is worth one of the most massive hauls in NBA history, then Durant is a blank check for Brooklyn’s impending rebuild that will start with a half-decade of first-rounders and then some. It’s bananas right now, and it begs the question for any team looking to acquire Durant; is it worth it?
Does any team have enough to land Durant and then win with Durant and what they have left? The answer might be no, and that’s likely why Durant might be in Brooklyn longer than he wants. The same applies to Kyrie Irving, granted, not for the same reasons exactly.
Irving opted into his $37 million player option for the 2022-23 season after he and his representatives failed to find a partner for a sign-and-trade that would have created Irving’s exit from Brooklyn. If no one wanted to take part in a sign-and-trade for Irving a couple of weeks ago, who’s going to want to take on his $37 million contract and meet the Nets asking price for it.
The dynamic in Brooklyn is not good, and it might be at a stalemate if Brooklyn doesn’t find a take for their two disgruntled stars that works for them.
Chet Holmgren Wows the NBA World in Summer League Debut
Everyone was talking about Chet Holmgren’s Summer League debut last night, even the greatest player to ever don the OKC uniform that Holmgren is sporting in his rookie season, Kevin Durant. Holmgren sported Durant’s current No. 7 on his OKC jersey and wore a pair of KD 15s, and Durant took notice on Twitter last night.
The seven-footer from Gonzaga, on whom the Thunder spent the second-overall pick in the NBA Draft a couple of weeks ago, dominated in his Summer League debut. Holmgren scored 23 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor and a perfect 5-of-5 from the charity stripe.
Holmgren also snagged seven rebounds and a Summer League record six blocks and four assists in just 23 minutes of action. After the game, when told that he broke the block record for the Summer League, Holmgren laughed and replied, “I’m gonna break it again.”
Not to be forgotten, on Tuesday night, Holmgren’s teammate and Oklahoma City’s 2021 first-rounder (sixth overall) Josh Giddey showed out in the Thunder’s victory over the Jazz.
Giddey recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 assists on 56 percent shooting from the field. The Thunder point guard also logged five rebounds, two steals, and two blocks as the duo looked like a match made in heaven for OKC.
Sure, it’s Summer League, but the Giddey-Holmgren pairing in OKC looks like one that could be pretty fun to watch this season.
And Ones …
- Per Shams, Portland is waiving guard Eric Bledsoe ahead of his guarantee date. Shams expects teams to pursue the veteran NBA guard as soon as he becomes a free agent.
- Former DePaul big man Paul Reed dropped 20 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for the Sixers in their Summer League game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night.
- Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird will be the cover athletes for the WNBA edition of NBA 2K23:
- Nassir Little is changing his number to allow new teammate Jerami Grant to wear his No. 9. Little will wear No. 10 this season, a number worn by Dennis Smith Jr. last season.
- The Memphis Grizzlies are giving second-rounder (No. 38) Kennedy Chandler a four-year, $7.1 million rookie deal. Chandler’s $4.94 million guaranteed money is the most significant guaranteed salary for an American second-round pick in the history of the NBA. Hey, last year’s 38th overall pick (Ayo Dosunmu) turned out to be pretty good, so maybe the Grizzlies aren’t that nuts?
- More on Chet Holmgren’s debut from Steph Noh, one of the best X’s and O’s guys in the NBA world:
- Caleb Martin is returning to the Miami Heat on a three-year deal worth north of $20 million, according to Shams. Martin played 60 games for the Heat last season and averaged 9.2 points per game while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from deep.