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If you thought the Minnesota Timberwolves exhausted too many assets to land Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz, you aren’t alone.
HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported Tuesday that five NBA executives “felt Minnesota overpaid for Gobert and increased the price tag for [Kevin] Durant in the process.”
Scotto filed a similar report July 2, writing that the price tag for Durant was “expected to go up following the boatload of draft picks the Timberwolves gave up to acquire [Gobert].”
According to Scotto, the Nets want to get All-Star talent, promising young stars and “substantial unprotected draft picks and pick swaps.”
The problem for Brooklyn is that the Gobert trade might be such an outlier as to provide little in the way of further leverage at the negotiating table.
The Jazz received first-round picks in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029 and the right to swap first-rounders with the Wolves in 2026. Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro and 2022 first-rounder Walker Kessler also went to Utah.
Sure, the return for Durant should be astronomical.
Brady Klopfer @BradyKlopferNBA
If Rudy Gobert got four first-round picks, teams might have to send their arena, team name, and first-born to the Nets for KD
But the team that gets Durant will need to still be in position to contend.
For example, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported June 30 that the Nets were asking for Devin Booker to be part of any package with the Phoenix Suns.
“The Suns, of course, would likely hold the line firm,” Fischer wrote.
The opportunity to play alongside Booker would presumably be a major draw for Durant. How excited would he be to join the Suns if they no longer had Booker?
The same logic can be applied to any number of franchises interested in Durant.
KD won’t be attainable on the basis of building for the future. He will turn 34 in September, and it’s clear after the Nets were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics that he can’t single-handedly carry his squad to a championship.
Brooklyn stands to be paid handsomely in any trade involving Durant. But the haul is almost bound to underwhelm in comparison to the Gobert deal.