The Phoenix Suns matched DeAndre Ayton’s offer sheet ‘the minute they received it’, per Adrian Wojnarowski. What this means for Kevin Durant and more:
The Suns have matched Ayton’s four-year, $133 million offer sheet, per reports. The Pacers tried to sign Ayton in restricted free agency, but Phoenix will keep his rights, and cannot trade him for quite some time.
Ayton reserves the right to veto any trade involving him for at least a full year. Even if Ayton were to approve of a move, the Suns cannot deal him until January, thus taking them out of the Kevin Durant chase altogether.
Essentially, once Ayton signed an offer sheet, he doomed Phoenix’s chances of trading for KD. The Suns do not own another asset as attractive as the 23-year-old big.
With Phoenix out of the picture, which teams are the favorites to land Durant?
Kevin Durant trade rumors: Miami Heat
The Heat have long been potential suitors for Durant. In fact, the minute KD asked to be traded, he mentioned the Suns and Heat as two of his preferred destinations.
With Phoenix now out of the picture, perhaps Miami can take advantage. The Heat would have to trade any number of assets for Durant. One package could be centered around Jimmy Butler and draft picks. But if Brooklyn would prefer to rebuild with young talent, a Bam Adebayo and/or Tyler Herro centered trade package would do, as well.
Kevin Durant trade rumors: Toronto Raptors
The Raptors are an intriguing fit, and recent rumblings suggest Durant would be comfortable playing there. Toronto is a middling playoff team as currently constructed, but pairing Durant with the likes of Pascal Siakam and Fred Van Vleet (assuming neither are traded) makes them a tough out in the East.
The current hold-up in discussions is that Toronto does not want to include Scottie Barnes in a potential trade. This limits the number of assets the Raptors have in any trade for Durant.
Kevin Durant trade rumors: Golden State Warriors
The Warriors could put together the best trade package for Durant. The question remains, however, whether the two sides would welcome a reunion. Durant had to watch the Dubs win a title without him just last season. A return would make it seem (to some) like KD cannot win outside of the Bay Area.
As for the Warriors — they’re doing a fine job building from within. While adding Durant would undoubtedly make them favorites to win next year’s title, as well, they’d have to trade most of their young core to make it happen.