scorecardKevin Durant requests trade from the Nets and reportedly half the league called within an hour
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Kevin Durant requests trade from the Nets and reportedly half the league called within an hour

Scott Davis   

Kevin Durant requests trade from the Nets and reportedly half the league called within an hour
Sports2 min read
  • Kevin Durant has requested a trade from the Nets.
  • ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that half of the league called the Nets within an hour of the news.

Kevin Durant may have set off the biggest trade sweepstakes in NBA history.

Durant on Thursday requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, according to multiple reports.

At 34, Durant is still in MVP form, coming off a season in which he averaged 30 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists per game for the Nets. He also has four years and about $200 million left on his contract.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said on "NBA Today" that more than half of the NBA has already called the Nets to discuss deals.

"There was certainly a lot of back-channeling going on around the league to suggest that Kevin Durant was planning to ask for a trade at some point, and it happened today," Wojnarowski said. "And now I'm told that already, since the reporting here in the last hour, I'm told that more than half the league has already called Brooklyn about the possibility of acquiring Kevin Durant, who [is] 34 years old and still at the very top of his game, and I think as importantly as that, with four years on his contract."

Wojnarowski said the Nets will be seeking an "historic" return for Durant, noting that there is almost no precedent for a player of Durant's caliber asking for a trade with so much time left on his contract.

ESPN's Zach Lowe had also suggested on "Get Up" earlier in the week that Durant could fetch the biggest trade return of all-time.

Wojnarowski reported that Durant's top two trade destinations are the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns but said the Nets will likely "canvass" the league for the best return.

How the once-fearsome Nets fell apart

It's been a stunning turn of events in Brooklyn over the past year. They entered last season as the championship favorites, boasting a formidable Big Three of Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden.

However, Irving's decision not to get the COVID-19 vaccine left him ineligible to play home games in New York City for most of the season. His unavailability reportedly wore on Harden, who requested a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers in February.

The Nets were swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics, but their future still looked promising with a healthy Durant, Irving no longer affected by New York City vaccine mandates, and the recently acquired Ben Simmons, who came over in the Harden trade.

However, things hit a snag this off-season when the Nets refused to give Irving a maximum contract extension. After exploring a limited free agency marketplace (few teams had cap space or were interested in opening cap space for Irving), he opted into his existing contract option to stay signed with the Nets for 2022-23.

Just three days later, though, Durant requested out.

On ESPN, Wojnarowski said there had been no communication between Durant and the Nets.

"There was a sense of inevitability around the Nets and around Kevin Durant that this day was coming," Wojnarowski said. "He had not been in contact with the team for weeks, and after Kyrie Irving opted into his contract last week, neither Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant were in communication with the team."

NBA insiders have suggested that the Nets will also look to trade Irving, which would complete a stunning transformation for Brooklyn — from Big Three to Big Zero.