The Brooklyn Nets have reportedly made their demands clear to acquire Kevin Durant. The franchise is seeking quality players in return, not just draft picks. If true, this preference indicates that they aren't looking to rebuild.
According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, the Nets are looking for reasonable compensation of star players in return for the Slim Reaper. Speaking on his podcast The Hoop Collective, Windhorst said:
"From what I can tell, there was an attempt by the Nets to make it clear that there was not going to be an artificial deadline here. Everything you here is a negotiating position that they are taking.
"I am told that the Nets are prioritizing getting players back in this deal. They want the prime assets in this trade to be a star player or a high-level star players that they're not focusing on draft picks, though I'm sure they want draft picks, too."
The Nets hold an advantageous negotiating position because of the four years remaining on Kevin Durant's deal. Durant signed a long-term extension last year, earning him over $190 million over four years. With no player option in the contract, Durant will stay put unless the Nets trade him.
Could the Suns offer the best deal for Kevin Durant?
The Phoenix Suns may not have the best package available for the Nets. The Suns won't trade Chris Paul, nor will they be dealing Devin Booker. Booker recently signed a long-term extension and is not eligible to be traded.
The Suns could trade Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson or Deandre Ayton for Kevin Durant. To make the salaries work, the Nets will also have to include Cam Thomas or someone with a similar contract.
The Nets have made it clear that they want an All-Star in return. Ayton has not performed at an All-Star level in the postseason. Mikal Bridges is one of the best defensive players in the league but is not an All-Star, while Cam Johnson is a starter at best.
This would leave the Miami Heat in the driver's seat. The Heat can part ways with Tyler Herro, Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson for Durant. The trade would create a new big three: Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
The Nets would get a sharpshooter in Robinson, a veteran in Lowry and the reigning Sixth Man of the Year in Herro.
With plenty of time on the clock, the Brooklyn Nets know they have all the leverage and will be in no hurry to do the deal.