Before the news broke that Kevin Durant would be staying with the Brooklyn Nets, the Memphis Grizzlies talked to the Brooklyn Nets about the 12-time All-Star. The second seed in the Western Conference in 2021-22 is looking to be the number one seed as well as NBA Champions in 2022-23. We all know that the Nets wanted more than a fair deal for the superstar, but the Grizzlies have five first-round draft picks as well as a plethora of young players. That made them the perfect trade partner. I know we’re talking Nets and Grizzlies, but this move would’ve benefitted the New York Knicks.
I’m sure that the Grizzlies would’ve had no problem dealing players like Ziaire Williams, Brandon Clarke, and Tyus Jones to Brooklyn for Durant. Of course, Ja Morant is off limits in all talks and the front office reportedly didn’t have plans to offer Desmond Bane or Jaren Jackson Jr. to Brooklyn.
Kevin Durant to the Grizzlies would’ve been a good sign for the Knicks
Joe Tsai and the Nets weren’t looking to struggle without Durant, as they made it clear they still wanted to compete for a championship. Memphis might’ve had to include Jackson Jr. or Bane to land Durant. I don’t believe the Nets would’ve wanted Dillon Brooks, Steven Adams, or Danny Green as they are all getting older.
The Knicks wouldn’t have had to see Durant as often. Eastern Conference teams and Western Conference teams usually only play twice a year. With arguably the best player on the planet in Memphis, the Knicks wouldn’t have had to think about the 6’10” assassin torching them four times in one year!
Last year, he played in three of the four games, averaging 37 points per game as Brooklyn swept the season series, 4-0.
The Knickerbockers could’ve reclaimed New York with Durant gone. Ever since he and Kyrie Irving arrived, there has been chatter about how Brooklyn is the new team of New York. I mean, it’s a little hard to deny since they are 9-2 since the Nets’ 2019 acquisition, but no! New York belongs to the Knickerbockers! If Memphis could’ve pulled this trade off, the Nets would’ve been back in our shadow.
Julius Randle could’ve possibly been an All-Star again, that is if Joe Tsai would’ve made the trade. With Durant moving to the Western Conference, that would’ve left an All-Star spot open. In 2021 when Julius Randle made his first All-Star appearance, Durant was injured and could not play in the game. Randle could’ve been a starter to replace Durant in the playful event.
If only Joe Tsai would’ve made the deal. Durant didn’t seem to want to be in New York and Knicks fans wanted him out West!