The Hawks have probably been mentioned more than any other team in trade rumors as Travis Schlenk searches to upgrade the roster. They’ve been linked to Deandre Ayton, Rudy Gobert, and just about every other available high-caliber player. Most recently, it was Dejounte Murray, which would be a home run of an acquisition. However, there might be an even better deal to be made.
Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Kyrie Irving has found leverage in contract discussions with the Nets. If he walks, Kevin Durant will demand a trade. After missing much of the 2021-22 season due to his unwillingness to be vaccinated, Irving isn’t the safest player to invest a long-term deal in, so you can’t really blame Brooklyn’s hesitancy to commit. And if this thing really does implode, then Schlenk should unload the chamber in an attempt to pry KD away. Woj sums it up perfectly in his report.
“There are teams rooting for Irving to opt-out and walk away from the Nets, believing it would give them a chance to cobble together trade packages to acquire Durant. As much as Durant asking out hangs over the Nets, there’s also the reality that four years on his contract will mean he has little, if any, voice on when or where he would be traded. This would be a small-market team’s dream, robbing a goliath of an MVP-level talent whose contractual circumstances would leave him little choice but to play for them.”
Woj has a point, but I don’t even think KD would mind playing in Atlanta with Trae Young; in fact, it’s a desirable hypothetical compared to some of the other destinations. The two have been connected for years, and Atlanta is infamously fun to live in; just ask Lou Williams. If the Hawks could pair Young with a top-five player in the Association, they’d immediately become title contenders, perhaps even favorites in the Eastern Conference.
With four years left on Durant’s contract, the Nets have all the power, but disgruntled stars often get there way in the NBA, and the Hawks could put together a hell of a trade package. Essentially everyone on Atlanta’s roster would be available for Brooklyn, and that might just be what it takes, plus several first-round selections. Regardless, Durant’s situation is one all teams, especially ones in small markets, will be monitoring closely.
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