The Portland Trail Blazers emerged as a trade contender for Kevin Durant this past weekend.
It wasn’t because of anything the front office did, but merely because team superstar Damian Lillard outwardly expressed interest in pairing up with Durant. He did so in the form of this fairly self-explanatory Instagram post:
Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic followed suit shortly thereafter with this tweet:
— Jusuf Nurkić (@bosnianbeast27) June 25, 2022
Given all the questions about Durant’s future with the Brooklyn Nets, an obvious question arose: can the Blazers actually pull off this blockbuster trade?
Yes, but it won’t be easy.
In order to get someone of Durant’s skillset and salary, Portland would need to give up the following: Anfernee Simons, Eric Bledsoe, probably Jerami Grant, and then fillers like Justise Winslow.
It would look something like this:
Obviously draft and financial compensation could change the pieces around a bit, but the broad strokes would remain largely the same.
It would without question result in the Blazers shipping off their biggest young promising star in Simons off. Beyond that, it would also leave the cupboard pretty bare around Lillard and Durant.
Would those two and spare parts be enough to win a chip? It’s hard to say. The Nets tried a similar experiment with Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving and ultimately came up short.
But when you have talents like Durant and Lillard on your team, theoretically at least, anything is possible. Just look at what LeBron James and Anthony Davis accomplished in 2020.
That said, it’s unclear how much interest Durant would actually have in Portland. His brother doesn’t appear too enamored with the idea:
The Nets are looking like they are getting blown up. While Kyrie Irving ending up with the Lakers depends on 1 major factor, they are not the only potential suitor out there for him. At least one other championship contender has legit interest.
— Game 7 (@game7__) June 26, 2022
It feels like an Irving trade is inevitable.
Where will that ultimately leave Durant and his future in Brooklyn?
Time will tell.