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Can Suns still trade for Kevin Durant after matching Deandre Ayton’s offer sheet?

Phoenix’s pursuit of Durant got more complicated.

Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets - Game Four
Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets warms up before Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs against the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center on April 25, 2022 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

It’s been quiet on the Kevin Durant trade front, including from the superstar himself. He’s reportedly not responding to other stars who have inquired about where his mind is, which only adds to the mystery of the whole situation. What is clear is Durant is looking to join either the Phoenix Suns or Miami Heat in a trade, with the team out West being his top destination.

The Suns matched the offer sheet Deandre Ayton received in restricted free agency from the Indiana Pacers over the weekend, meaning the big man is back in the fold in Phoenix. Ayton was considered a potential centerpiece of a Durant trade, but now he can’t be dealt until the trade deadline. Do the Suns have enough juice to make a trade for Durant without having Ayton in the package?

Technically, the salary math is always possible in the NBA. The Suns can get the salaries together with Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder and Cameron Johnson. Landry Shamet is also an option for salary filler. Phoenix also has its own draft picks, so the draft bounty going to Brooklyn is there. The question now is whether the Nets would take a package like that with Bridges being the centerpiece player. The forward is one of the top defenders in the league, but his offensive game is still far behind Durant’s. He’s 25, so he’s nearing the end of what many would consider his peak developmental phase.

On the flip side, would Durant be willing to go to a team gutting most of its rotation and draft capital? The Suns would be among a host of contenders with Durant in the mix, but they’d be losing their best defender and a group of quality role players in the process. It all hinges on how much the Nets like Bridges, and whether he’s enough to move the needle on a Durant trade.

According to the lastest DraftKings Sportsbook odds, the Suns are tied with the Toronto Raptors at +350 to add Durant. The Nets are now the favorites to be the next team he plays for at -140.