With the calendar approaching August, and plenty of roster maneuvers happening across the NBA draft and free agency behind us, the dog days of the holiday season are here. But the precarious future of superstars Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell still looms large on the league’s horizon. The NBA never sleeps.
So, as NBA executives and players scatter around the world for much-needed vacation and personal time after seasons shortened in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, a full summer provides everyone time to clear their minds even while the energy balance of next season and beyond. After that has not yet been determined.
There is no deadline for deliberation at the moment, but deadlines always lead to action, allowing the parties to either get really serious or decide to walk away from the discussions. Now, the start of bootcamp around September 26th is the unofficial commercial deadline. Teams aiming to transfer players face a late-September date to find a move before camp — or risk a hanging cloud early in the season.
Durant requested a trade from Brooklyn on June 30, according to sources, and after active discussions between the Nets and interested teams in early July, talks slowed. The Nets have set an incredibly high threshold for the return the franchise wants in Durant’s deal — two-time NBA champion, two-time Finals MVP, former league MVP and 12-time All-Star — and teams haven’t come close to meeting their price yet.
Durant has shown no change in his position, sources say, and executives from across the league questioned this month’s Las Vegas Summer League if his status as a training camp could be called into question by rejection if the trade did not develop.
After the Phoenix Suns matched Indiana’s maximum $133 million bid sheet with Deandre Ayton, Durant’s list of suitors became clearer. Since Ayton cannot currently be traded, it appears that Suns has been completely eliminated from the Durant sweepstakes. The Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat are still among the teams pursuing it — the Boston Celtics recently offered a package about one-time All-Star Jaylen Brown to Durant and emerged as a real threat to Durant’s takeover, according to league sources. the athlete.
Sources said the Celtics have offered Brown and goalkeeper Derek White a recruiting pick for Durant’s net. Those sources added that the proposal was rejected, and Brooklyn asked Boston – in any proposal – to include Brown, defensive player of the year Marcus Smart, and pick another player and possibly another rotation player. For now, the Celtics aren’t inclined to include Smart alongside many other players or select assets, but the franchise is considering next steps on how to handle the discussions.
As of now, the Celtics have emerged as a serious prospect as a landing point for Durant. They have a great interest in bringing it to their side and consider it a piece that can cross that last hurdle. Although there is work to be done, there is a deal to be struck that is enough for the Nets’ overwhelming demand.
For Boston, after a trip to the NBA Finals, the chance to land one of the greatest players in league history is one that President Brad Stevens must analyze and explore. However, the Celtics are certainly determined to be judicious and keen to ensure that the franchise remains championship contender for years to come, which is what this current core team appears set to do. But this is Kevin DurantHis greatness can instantly reshape a team’s fortunes from title contender to title winner under the right circumstances.
No deal is imminent for Durant, and as August approaches and then September, the true desire of the teams interested in the matter will become clear to the Nets. The Brooklyn front office, led by General Manager Sean Marks, set a high price in Durant’s market while creating a team that would give the organization confidence in its ability to compete if the team brought the roster, as is, to training camp. The onus is on interested parties to come to the negotiating table to pay the price of one of the greatest NBA players of all time. The Utah Jazz has moved Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a package that includes multiplayer, their 2022 first round selection at Walker Kessler, four future first rounds and a draft trade-off—which somewhat increased Durant and the Nets’ desire to select players from All-star caliber and selection.
Nets star Kyrie Irving picked his $37 million player option for next season, and committed to the 2022-23 season with the franchise. In Brooklyn, there is still a lot to sort out – and the clear picture promises to reveal itself as summer approaches – and there is still a belief that the best path to contending for the championship could certainly be to bring the current roster into the new season.
ESPN first reported Celtics’ entry as an applicant interested in Durant.
Meanwhile, eyes and ears around the league remain focused on the Utah Jazz and New York Knicks engaged in the business talks surrounding Mitchell. The Knicks’ asset pool – up to eight first-round picks and young players like Quentin Grimes, Emmanuel Quikley and Obi Tobin – give them a clear chance of taking over Mitchell, but sources say talks so far have moved slowly and the two sides are far from agreed. With a three-year guarantee left on Mitchell’s contract, the jazz is running with no sense of urgency and has time to evaluate the 25-year-old’s best performances.
Mitchell spent the summer in his usual off-season routine: intense workouts and time with his family and friends. Sources said the three-time NBA All-Star didn’t ask for a deal or try to get out of Utah, but if the franchise moves toward a full rebuild for a competitor like Mitchell he’d rather be in a win-oriented environment now, not later.
Besides New York, several other bands have expressed interest in jazz when it comes to Mitchell, such as Washington, Miami, Toronto, Charlotte, Sacramento and Atlanta, according to sources.
Like Brooklyn, The Jazz Company has stuck to setting high standards for any potential Mitchell deal, and they expect to be patient throughout the process. For now, the Jazz team will continue to evaluate incoming calls and look for ways to balance their roster.
The NBA’s unofficial off-season trading deadline is two months away, and Durant and Mitchell loom as major dominos in the entire league.
More NBA news and notes…
Colin Sexton is in the midst of the toughest free agency case — restricted free agency — but his fourth-year guard and his representative, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, have shown so far that they won’t settle in the negotiations. Discussions could get into a training camp, perhaps in a season when the league rosters landscape changes.
Sexton has a qualifying bid of $7.2 million for the 2022-23 season, which will make him one of the best unrestricted agents on the market outside of next season.
Sources said Rocket guard Kevin Porter Jr and the organization have a common interest in extending the contract before the start of the 2022-23 season. Porter, ranked 30th overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, is entering the final season of his rookie deal. He joined the Rockets on January 29, 2021, and has made headway over the past two years in Houston.
Porter averaged 15.6 points, 6.2 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per game last season while firing a best 37.5 percent from a 3-point range.
Los Angeles Lakers
Sources said that after further talks, former NBA star Rashid Wallace will not join the staff of new Lakers coach Darvin Hamm. Wallace worked as an assistant with Benny Hardaway at the University of Memphis last season.
Sources said Utah, New York and Indiana are among the teams that have discussed deals with the Lakers that include Russell Westbrook and venture capital. There appears to be no deal imminent in those talks – the general commercial market begins for the next couple of months out of season.
(Top photo: Brad Benner/USA Today Sports)