Kevin Durant landing spots: Suns, Heat, Raptors headline best fits after KD trade request from Nets

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Kevin Durant could be wearing a different uniform next season. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news that the 12-time All-Star has requested a trade out of Brooklyn, sending the other 29 teams scrambling on what is already the NBA's busiest day of the year.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski added that Nets general manager Sean Marks is working with Durant and his business manager, Rich Kleiman, on finding a trade. Apparently, the entire roster is now open for business.

The news is, uh, quite shocking.

Charania reported on June 23 that Durant was monitoring Brooklyn's situation and "considering options with his future," but that was before Kyrie Irving picked up his player option for the 2022-23 season. One might have thought that Irving's return would've prevented Durant from requesting a trade ... but here we are.

MORE: Why did Kevin Durant request a trade? 

Durant signed a four-year, $198 million extension with the Nets ahead of the 2021-22 season. Whichever team acquires him will have him under contract through 2025-26.

Durant might be entering his mid-30s and is only a few years removed from tearing his Achilles, but he's still in the conversation for best player in the league. Him being traded has the potential to shake up the entire NBA.

With that in mind, where will Durant end up? Here are some potential landing spots.

Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets)
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Best landing spots, fits for Kevin Durant

Phoenix Suns

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Suns are one of two teams known to be on Durant's wishlist.

The Suns suffered a historic loss to the Mavericks in the second round of the playoffs but ran away with the best record in the NBA this season and are home to two of the best guards in the league in Chris Paul and Devin Booker. 

It goes without saying, but the three of them together would pack quite the punch. Also, Durant is apparently a big fan of Booker.

The key is the Suns could, in theory, pull off a trade without giving up Paul or Booker. Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton, who is a restricted free agent and could be involved in a sign-and-trade, would likely headline the deal, and the Suns could sweeten the pot with multiple draft picks, as they have full control of their future first-rounders.

No disrespect to the champs, but the Suns would probably be the favorite to come out of the Western Conference next season if they land Durant.

MORE: Predictions, best fits for Suns center Deandre Ayton

Miami Heat

The other team reportedly on Durant's wishlist is Miami.

The Heat were a Jimmy Butler 3-pointer away from punching their ticket to the Finals for the second time in three seasons. They're as good as it gets defensively, but they're subject to cold spells offensively.

How does adding perhaps the most effortless scorer in NBA history sound?

Ideally, the Heat would get Durant without having to give up Butler or Bam Adebayo, but that would almost certainly require the Nets to be enamored with Tyler Herro. Otherwise, assuming the goal is to pair Durant with Butler, Adebayo might be their only ticket to getting him.

Worth noting: Miami isn't as loaded as other teams with future draft picks, but it can offer up to three first-rounders with a little bit of work.

Also worth noting: Brooklyn can't acquire Adebayo and keep Ben Simmons because they're both on Designated Rookie Extensions. A Heat deal would be quite complicated.

Toronto Raptors 

Never count out the Raptors.

The Raptors have proven to be a world-class organization, president Masai Ujiri has never been one to shy away from making a big move and they have the means to put together a mean trade package.

Like the Suns, the Raptors have full control of their future first-round picks. They also wouldn't have too hard of a time matching Durant's salary with Pascal Siakam earning the max and Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr. and OG Anunoby each being on middle-tier contracts. 

MORE: Raptors roster, draft picks entering offseason

What this would likely come down to is if the Raptors were willing to include Scottie Barnes in a deal for Durant.

The case for dealing Barnes: Durant gives the Raptors a legitimate shot at winning right now. The case against it: Barnes could be a star for the next decade-plus, giving the Raptors more bites at the apple if he reaches his full potential.

Navigating situations like this is why Ujiri gets paid the big bucks.

Memphis Grizzlies

One, Ja Morant seems like he'd approve.

Two, the Grizzlies have the assets to pursue Durant without giving up Morant. It would require them to give up a lot of the depth that helped them finish with the second-best record in the Western Conference this season — Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane is a start — but Morant and Durant would form one heck of a duo.

The icing on the cake is the Grizzlies have one more first-round pick to play with than the Suns and Raptors, as they acquired a future first-round pick from Golden State in the Andre Iguodala deal.

For a Nets team that might blow it up, draft picks could come at a premium.

Author(s)
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Scott Rafferty is a Senior NBA Editor for The Sporting News