When Kevin Durant requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets this summer, the Golden State Warriors looked into a potential mega-trade. According to an NBA insider, they may do so again if the former league MVP returns to the trade market.
The Nets have had a difficult start, falling to 5-7 and drawing a lot of attention off the court due to Kyrie Irving’s indefinite ban. Sean Deveney, an insider with Heavy Sports, pointed out that if the Nets’ season doesn’t improve, Durant would have a high trade value and might wind up on the market. According to a Western Conference executive, if that happened, the Warriors might be a good option.
Warriors Could Target Former Star
Despite the messy manner in which Durant left Golden State in 2019, sources from the summer suggested that the Warriors might have been amenable to a reconciliation had the Nets actually traded him. Although Durant and Nets owner Joe Tsai eventually reconciled, the Western Conference official informed Deveney that there might still be a chance for Durant to return to Golden State.
“It’s a nice idea, having the stars that they have and then thinking that a wave of young guys behind them will step in and be a championship kind of group, too,” the West executive said. “But that was always a best-case scenario kind of thing. It happens a lot more that these guys are just too young and might not reach the potential they think they have. If you want to win another (championship) with Steph (Curry), you have to be open to making the mega-blockbuster kind of deal. That’s what getting Durant back would be.”
Warriors Would Need to Break Up Youth Movement for Durant
Deveney thinks the Warriors may have the assets to acquire Durant, despite the fact that doing so would necessitate abandoning their “two-timeline” strategy. Durant would not be cheap to any potential trading partner. He speculated that the Warriors may deal Patrick Baldwin Jr. or a first-round pick for Draymond Green, James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, and Patrick Baldwin Jr.
The Warriors’ plan to develop a competitive team around their young players would suffer if they chose to go all-in on winning another championship during Steph Curry’s prime. Although Kuminga and Wiseman have both had difficulties this season, they are still regarded as important foundational players for the future, and Baldwin may be valued more highly than either of them.
The Warriors view the rookie as the best fit for the team among the crop of young players, but he will take time to develop, a Western Conference executive told Deveney in October.
“The thing about Kuminga and all those young guys they have is that, if you ask people in that team, they like Patrick Baldwin Jr. better,” the executive told Deveney. “They may like him more than all of their young guys in the end. They’re going to go slow with him, but I would expect to see him in the rotation at some point. Positionally, he fits better than the other young guys except [for] Wiseman. But they think he is going to be a really, really good stretch-four in the league, and they do not have that on the roster right now.”