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Spears: KD-Warriors trade not imminent, but call was made originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Kevin Durant turned the NBA world upside down last week when he requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets.
ESPN Andscape's Marc J. Spears took it up a notch over the weekend when he reported, citing sources, that the Warriors have interest in bringing back the two-time NBA Finals MVP.
Spears elaborated on his reporting on Tuesday, explaining in more detail why a reunion between KD and the Warriors might not be completely out of the question.
"I get it. It's the Warriors. It's Kevin Durant. It's going to create a firestorm anytime you bring those two names together," Spears said during an interview in KNBR with Greg Papa and John Lund. "But you know, essentially, basically I was saying more than half the league has reached out to the Nets about Kevin Durant. And the Warriors are one of them. Which is a smart thing to do, I mean, you should do. And that doesn’t mean anything is imminent, that doesn’t mean there’s any trade that they’ve talked about. Just the fact that there would be some interest in there, certainly I'm sure raised some eyebrows here. Whether in excitement or like 'Nah, nah, nah.'
“A call is a call, and that’s what [Warriors president of basketball operations] Bob Myers makes all the time. So, I think people shouldn’t put the cart in front of the horse, but there was a phone call.”
Myers wouldn't be doing his job to the best of his abilities if he didn't call whenever a star player became available on the trade market. Every front office leader operates like that. So it makes sense that he would call Nets general manager Sean Marks.
Now, things got a little more interesting Sunday night when The Athletic's Marcus Thompson reported that while a deal was "highly unlikely, Durant has been in contact with some of the Warriors stars and the idea of a reunion did come up.
And while Durant's last moments with the Warriors during the 2018-19 season were icy and his departure was swift, the relationship between him and certain members of Golden State still is in good shape, leaving room for them to work out any differences and come back together.
"The Warriors did the right thing by not burning the bridge like the bridge was burnt in Oklahoma City," Spears said on KNBR. "Lacob did something smart. He said, 'Hey, we're going to retire his jersey one day.' Bob Myers kept a positive relationship with him. Steph Curry, who again is the most important person in the group, kept a positive relationship with him, and they’re cool.
"If this were to magically happen, which I don't think anything is imminent with Kevin Durant, but I think ultimately with each passing day, this is probably something that he would be more and more excited about."
Any trade the Nets pull off for Durant is going to be extremely complicated. Brooklyn wants young star players involved in the deal and they also want a bounty of draft picks. But they also have Ben Simmons on their roster. He was acquired via a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers earlier this year and had previously signed a designated rookie max extension.
Teams are allowed to have two players signed to such a deal on their roster, but they can only have one acquired through trade.
The teams that have the most to offer the Nets in terms of young players -- the Warriors, the Phoenix Suns, the Miami Heat, etc -- all have players of interest to Brooklyn signed to that type of contract.
"The challenge is, I would guess, is that [Andrew] Wiggins would have to be included in such a deal," Spears said. "And you can only have two players on rookie max extension on a team. So whether it's the Warriors, whether it's Phoenix, whether it's Miami, because they have the same issues, I think the Nets are going to have to trade Ben Simmons in order to accommodate a major move like that for Durant because of the people that have the rookie extensions on each of those rosters."
As Spears noted over the weekend, the Warriors do have the best stash of young players to lure KD away from the Nets. And that remains the part that makes Golden State such an intriguing team to keep an eye on.
"I think the most realistic places is where a combination where he wants to be and where the Nets would get the best value," Spears said. "That's why if you listened to what I said before I said ‘Just keep an eye on the Warriors.’ I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but they got the best assets. They don’t have the best draft assets, but in terms of young talent, in terms of having an All-Star, future All-Star, potential players, you know, that’s what the Nets are looking for.
"So if you’re getting a group of really talented young players, what do you need draft picks for. They’re better than draft picks. Forget the draft. Because those draft picks from the Warriors, if they were to get KD back, they're not going to mean anything. They're going to be in the late 20s, maybe 30, right."
RELATED: Latest on Nets' Durant asking price
A week after Durant put in his trade request, there has been no movement from the Nets -- no rumors of reported options on the table for Brooklyn. It's not easy to trade a player of KD's caliber who has four years left on an extension he signed last year.
Whether the Warriors' interest is legit, posturing or just kicking the tires, that remains to be seen. But it certainly is fascinating that after all they've been through the last three years, they are one of the best teams equipped to acquire Durant, even if it never happens.