Kevin Durant trade grades: Suns swing for the fences; Nets add youth, draft picks

The Suns shuffle their chips to the center of the table and pull off a blockbuster deal to take on 13-time All-Star Kevin Durant.

Meanwhile, the Nets are making a switch to youth after Kyrie Irving was traded to the Mavericks. They brought back some talented players along with a stash of draft picks.

Trading was confirmed early Thursday morning.

  • Get Suns: Kevin Durant, TJ Warren
  • Get nets: Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Jae Crowder, four unprotected first-round picks (2023, 2025, 2027, 2029), 2028 pick swap

What grade did each of these teams receive? Let’s break down the deal from every angle.


Sun rating: A+

The Suns’ championship window appeared to be closing — until they opened it up again with the Durant acquisition.

Before his injury, Durant was firmly in the MVP talk, averaging 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.5 blocks per game on super-efficient shot splits of 55.9/37.6/93, 4.

The addition of one of the league’s top scorers to a core of Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton immediately puts them back in the conversation of elite Western Conference teams. (It also means Phoenix fans will see even more midrange jumpers.)

Financially, this trade is a win for the Suns, who not only increase their championship cap with Durant, but also break away from an angry Crowder. You no longer have to worry about paying Johnson, who will become a restricted free agent this summer.

Sure they’re losing depth and two young players who fit their system perfectly, but…it’s Kevin Durant!

Getting Warren back in the deal is a nice sweetener for the Suns. Warren has only played 26 games for the Nets this season, but as a 35.5 percent career 3-pointer, he can seamlessly sneak off the bench as a goalscorer.

With the Western Conference wide open, this move is a home game for Phoenix.

Kevin Durant contract details

Durant signed a four-year, $197 million extension during the 2021 offseason. This deal runs until 2025-26.

Nets commercial class: B-

Considering the inflated trade market we saw in the offseason with Rudy Gobert’s move to Minnesota, the Nets’ haul seems palatable.

Ideally, you want at least one All-Star in exchange for a top-five player. The gem of this deal is Bridges, which has the potential to reach that level in the not too distant future.

Bridges has quickly established himself as one of the top young 3-and-D players in the league. A certified marksman, Johnson had some bright moments with the Suns and delivered impressive performances on their way to the 2021 Finals.

And as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported, Crowder could be flipped on the deadline for future draft assets, adding to the scope of this massive package.

In a vacuum, Durant could have been priced higher. He has shown he can carry a contender single-handedly.

But with Irving being shipped to Dallas and the franchise going through a rebuild, bringing in that kind of design capital along with Bridges and Johnson is a huge win.

Contract details of Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson and Jae Crowder

Bridges is getting $21.0 million in the first season of a four-year, $90.9 million rookie extension he signed with the Suns.

Johnson is set to earn $5.9 million this season before coming to limited freelance in the offseason.

Crowder is in the final year of his contract and is making $10.2 million this season. He signed a three-year, $29.2 million contract ahead of the 2020-21 season.

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