This summer’s NBA offseason has been all about trades, and we’ve already seen a number of blockbusters over the past few days. The biggest deals are yet to come, however, as the futures of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s with the Brooklyn Nets hang in the balance.
As one of the best players in the league, and with four years left on his contract, Durant is expected to fetch one of the biggest trade returns in league history. The problem is that making such a trade is not easy. Only a few teams have the requisite talent and draft capital to make a deal, and do so without gutting their roster.
Ironically, one of them is the Golden State Warriors. Durant making a return to the Bay Area after his dramatic departure a few years ago would be quite a story, and even him and his former teammates haven’t been able to avoid discussing the possibility. However, such an outcome is “highly unlikely,” according to Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic.
The Warriors superstars have been in conversations with Durant. In addition to catching up, the Hall of Fame-bound peers did entertain the idea of a reunion. It was mostly about the stunning nature of it even being possible. The idea of them playing together again had to seem impossible when Durant left in free agency in 2019. It isn’t lost on them how life has contrived an opportunity for them to come full circle. They see it, like everyone else, and talked about it, like everyone else.
This isn’t a case where the Warriors stars are pressing the front office to go acquire Durant. Sources made it clear they are fine defending their title with Wiggins, Poole and the young players they’ve been grooming to win with them. But if the universe somehow sets it up so legends reunite, they’d be open to it.
With that said, according to multiple sources in the Warriors organization, a reunion is highly unlikely.
While the Warriors’ draft picks aren’t likely to be super valuable over the next few years, especially if they acquire Durant, they could send out a bunch of them. Plus, they have all sorts of young players who could help the Nets win both now and in the future: Jordan Poole, James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, etc. (Andrew Wiggins could not be included while the Nets also have Ben Simmons due to rules preventing two players who received a Designated Rookie Max contract from being on the same team.)
Over the past few years, however, the Warriors’ ownership and front office has been steadfastly against trading away any young talent. Even with the team looking like a contender, they wouldn’t move one of them for some veteran help at the deadline last season. They won the title anyway, but that decision was another reminder of their faith in their prospects.
The Warriors want to win now and in the future, and have talked openly about two timelines. Cashing in all of their young talent for Durant would greatly increase their title odds over the next few seasons, but would put a pretty firm end date on their window given the ages of Durant and their current core. Some may disagree with that thought process, but the Warriors are firm in their belief, and will be buoyed by last season’s title.
We’ve learned you can never say never in the NBA, but it’s hard to imagine the Warriors backing out of their long-term plan after this much investment.