Did you wake up today hoping there would finally be a new team being thrown into the KD drama? Were you maybe tired of hearing the same recycled reporting around the Celtics, Raptors or Heat? Well, you're in luck! We have a new team to consider according to Shams, so let's have a look!
Recently, a new team has shown interest in Durant: the Memphis Grizzlies, league sources tell The Athletic. Fresh off a 56-win season, the Grizzlies have made new inquiries to the Nets about Durant, those sources added. Memphis has five first-round draft picks available (four unprotected selections of its own and one protected via Golden State in 2024) to theoretically utilize in a trade as well as young players like Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane, Ziaire Williams, Brandon Clarke, Kennedy Chandler and David Roddy.
You'll remember a certain tweet that came out basically as soon as KD requested the trade
So this is it right? Done deal? They have the assets, they are interested, Morant is on board, what's the hold up? Oh right, there's also this little bit of reporting from Shams
Grizzlies executive vice president of basketball operations Zach Kleiman, the NBA’s reigning Executive of the Year, has done a masterful job building the team’s foundation around the All-NBA star Morant and a strong supporting cast while securing assets for the present and future. The Grizzlies, so far, do not appear inclined to include Jackson or Bane in a potential offer for Durant, sources said, but rather a package built around their bevy of draft picks.
Ah, so Durant will not be going to the Grizzlies then. That was a fun 15 seconds. Another team who is reportedly not willing to give up their 2nd or 3rd best players for KD it seems. That's kind of how things are going for the Nets right now. Nobody wants to give them any of their best players for their aging franchise star, even if that dude is Kevin freaking Durant. Desmond Bane and JJJ are good young pieces, no doubt. But neither is an All Star. The thing is, the Grizzlies know what their building. They are already one of the better teams in the league as is, Could they use Durant? Sure! But they're also pretty fucking good without him so why mess up a good thing?
I will say though, of all the rumored teams, this one could be the spiciest simply for what it will do to the new MEM/GS rivalry. You throw KD on the Grizzlies and that matchup becomes even more intriguing. I'm just not sure how they get there with a trade package built around who, Ziaire Williams and Brandon Clarke? What good are all those picks if the Grizzlies are going to be awesome? If I'm the Nets, I'd rather roll the dice and just keep KD than trade him for that type of package. In looking at their current salaries, how do they even get to Durant's number without including those guys?
The Grizzlies drafted so well that a bunch of these guys are still on their rookie deals. KD's salary this season is $42M, so you do the math. If someone like JJJ is off the table, the financial side of this potential trade gets pretty complicated, even if MEM is willing to throw in all those picks.
So really, while the Grizzlies are a "new" team being mentioned in the KD sweepstakes, given who they are not willing to trade (Morant/JJJ/Bane), I'm not sure I see a path. To be honest, I'm not sure I see any path that isn't KD being on the Nets come training camp. Not when you look at all the players that these teams are not willing to give up combined with how high of an asking price the Nets have.
Something will have to budge, and it's not like the Nets are operating with any leverage.