It seems like the Brooklyn Nets are officially in rebuild mode.
After fighting tooth and nail over the past offseason to keep Kevin Durant in the team, they are sending him off the Phoenix Suns for a king’s ransom.
Shams Charania and Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news late into the night for American basketball fans. However, OKBET players were wide awake when the earth-shaking news hit:
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 9, 2023
Woj and Charania reported that the Suns will send Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Jae Crowder, and four unprotected first-round picks (2023, 2025, 2027, and 2029). The Nets will send TJ Warren and Durant to make the salaries work.
Durant’s arrival to the Valley immediately extends their championship window. Plenty of questions surrounded the team coming into the season. Can Chris Paul still lead the team in tough playoff situations? Does Devin Booker have the clutch gene? Is Deandre Ayton the right choice at the five spot?
The Slim Reaper’s arrival at the Footprint Center immediately shoots them up as title favorites across legitimate betting sites. His season averages of 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists on 56% FG and 38% 3FG instantly turn the Suns into an unstoppable superteam.
Meanwhile, the Nets’ gamble with talented—albeit problematic—superstars is over. It will take a good while before they become relevant again, but they got good pieces to rebuild with.
Mikal Bridges was a key cog in the Suns’ deep playoff runs. Cam Johnson is quickly developing into one of the league’s better two-way players. Jae Crowder is a solid veteran presence that can bolster team chemistry. The four unprotected picks can also end up as valuable assets.
What Does This Mean for the Western Conference?
The Western Conference was already full of decent teams. While Durant’s return to the West still means the Suns are among the West’s elite, the playoff picture will significantly change.
Unless a major choke happens, Phoenix is an instant favorite to make it out of the West this year. They were already a hard team to beat even before acquiring Kevin Durant, and this trade only turns them into tougher playoff opponents.
However, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t anyone in the West who can push them to their brink. The Golden State Warriors can destroy them in seven games if everyone is healthy. Nikola Jokic is spearheading a terrific Denver Nuggets squad. The Los Angeles Lakers finally have a decent squad that can push for play-in spots.
Finally, the Suns can have a tough time against the Dallas Mavericks. No one will ever forget how Luka Doncic cooked the Suns in an epic Game 7 beatdown last playoffs.
Now that Doncic has Durant’s former teammate in his corner, he can take them to another seven-game battle.