The NBA has been waiting for Kevin Durant to leave the Brooklyn Nets ever since he requested a trade near the end of June. However, the Brooklyn Nets have a steep asking price in return for the former MVP. As a result, no trade conversations have gained any traction.
Two of the teams Durant was most interested in playing for are the Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat. However, both teams are currently stuck without the assets to acquire the superstar. The Phoenix Suns lost the ability to trade their most valuable asset in Deandre Ayton. The Miami Heat lack a desirable amount of draft picks to trade away, and they are reluctant to trade away Bam Adebayo, which becomes difficult contractually anyway because of Ben Simmons.
So far, no teams have been willing to give the Brooklyn Nets the assets they demand in return for Durant. At this point, it seems more likely that Durant will be returning to the Brooklyn Nets, at least for the beginning of the 2022-23 season. If the Nets keep him through the postseason with the roster that is presently constructed, they would actually win the NBA championship next season. Here are a few reasons why.
As of right now, the Brooklyn Nets have the same superstar duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving they had last season. Both players can lead the Nets to a championship as long as they have a solid supporting cast. Next season, the Nets would have that type of support if they elect to keep Durant and Irving on the roster.
Their biggest signing this offseason was T.J. Warren. He has been injured for the past two seasons. The last time we saw him healthy, he was averaging 26 points in the Bubble. The Brooklyn Nets aren’t going to expect that out of him, nor would they need it with the scoring ability of Durant and Irving. However, it would not be surprising to see 15-18 points from Warren every night. In addition to Warren, the Brooklyn Nets acquired Royce O’Neal, who is a very solid role player.
The biggest roster improvement the Brooklyn Nets will have next season compared to last season is the addition of Ben Simmons. The Nets acquired Simmons last season at the trade deadline, but he sat out the season due to a back injury. There are a few concerns with Simmons. The first is that we don’t know how much that back injury is going to affect Simmons. The second is that the last time we saw Simmons, he was scared to shoot the ball and was horrific from the free throw line (and anywhere outside the paint).
Despite all of the fears, Simmons is the perfect star pairing with the Brooklyn Nets superstar duo. He might not be the most effective shooter or scorer, but he brings all of the other things the Brooklyn Nets need. He is one of the best passers in the league and is an expert at setting up teammates for threes. He is also one of the best defenders in the league. He will help solve many of the Nets problems that they experienced last season.
No Kyrie Irving Restrictions
One of the key issues that led to Brooklyn getting swept in the first round of the playoffs last season was a lack of continuity throughout the roster. For over half the season, the Nets were missing one of their most important pieces in Kyrie Irving. Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated ultimately influenced the team to force Irving to sit out the season. Out of desperation, they lifted their restrictions, but he was only allowed to play away games for a large chunk of the season.
Next season, there should not be any restrictions preventing Kyrie Irving from playing. So the Nets should have their second best player readily available to help Durant and the Nets win a championship if the team decided to take that route.
That being said, it is worth noting that a lack of restriction is going to mean Kyrie Irving will be available. The Nets guard has a history of missing games for various reasons. Still, there is hope that Irving will be more available next season. With more continuity throughout the roster, the Nets should have enough talent to win it all.