New Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia wasted no time shaking up the franchise.
The Suns are acquiring NBA superstar Kevin Durant in a blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets, a person with knowledge of the deal told USA TODAY Sports.
The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly until the deal is official.
The deal will send Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder and four first-round picks to the Nets, in addition to a pick swap in 2028. The Suns will be getting Durant – a 13-time All-Star and two-time NBA Finals MVP – and forward T.J. Warren.
The Durant trade comes in the wake of the Nets trading Kyrie Irving, who signed along with Durant, 34, in Brooklyn in 2019. Moving Durant marks a hard reset for Brooklyn, which is now set to receive Phoenix's first-round picks in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029.
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Durant requested a trade before the season, but Nets general manager Sean Marks was unable to find a deal that yielded the draft picks Brooklyn sought – especially after Utah received four future first-round picks and 2022 first-round pick Walker Kessler from Minnesota in the Rudy Gobert trade in July.
Once the Nets dealt Irving to Dallas after his trade request late last week, the Nets re-evaluated the direction they wanted to take and decided to reset and trade Durant.
Durant sustained an isolated MCL sprain of the right knee against Miami on Jan. 8 and has not played since. He was hoping to return for the All-Star Game but that will not happen. The Nets had not released a timetable for his return prior to trading him.
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Durant was in the middle of a stellar season before the injury, averaging 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists and was shooting 55.9% from the field, 37.6% on 3-pointers and a league-best 93.4% on free throws.
The Nets acquired Durant, Irving and James Harden and hired Steve Nash in 2020 as coach. The three players are gone, and Brooklyn fired Nash earlier this season. The Nets never reached the conference finals and are stuck with Ben Simmons’ contract that has two years and $77 million remaining on it.
For the Suns, who just officially introduced Ishbia earlier Wednesday, trading for Durant is an all-in move for a team seeking its first NBA title.
Phoenix reached the NBA Finals in 2021 and posted the best record in the NBA last season but has scuffled along this year (30-26) with star guard Devin Booker missing extensive time due to injuries.
While the Suns are 8½ games behind first-place Denver, this deal elevates them to title contenders if Booker, Durant and Chris Paul are healthy.
Durant, the 2013-14 NBA MVP, has three more years left on his contract after this season – $46.4 million in 2023-24, $49.8 million in 2024-25 and $53.2 million in 2025-26.
ESPN first reported news of the deal.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kevin Durant traded to Phoenix Suns in blockbuster trade with Nets