During a flurry of trades happening right before the NBA’s trade deadline, several big moves were made in one of the most active trade deadlines in recent memory. But no move is likely as impactful as the Brooklyn Nets trading Kevin Durant and TJ Warren to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Mikail Bridges, Cam Johnson, four first-round picks, a first-round pick swap, and multiple second-round draft picks. The trade was so large that the Bucks and Pacers were also involved to ensure that the trade met salary requirements.

Durant is a Seat Pleasant native and one of the greatest pure scorers in NBA history. In this one move, the Phoenix Suns are hoping to cash in with at least one championship with a star-studded roster and the Brooklyn Nets set themselves up with young, versatile players and draft assets. The Suns now have a starting lineup consisting of Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Ayton. The Suns went to the NBA Finals in 2021, losing in six games to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Jae Crowder was traded from the Suns and while he has not suited up this year, he has been a contributing player deep into the playoffs and in the NBA Finals in past years. Several other players are considered “buyout candidates,” meaning that a team will pay out the majority of their contract now to terminate the contract immediately. Once bought out, a player is free to sign with any team as a free agent. Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and Serge Ibaka are all buyout candidates who may take their talents to stacked rosters with space. 

Reggie Jackson, who was traded from the Clippers, will be joining the Nuggets and Stanley Johnson, a former Laker who is shooting 45% from the three-point range this season, was recently bought out by the Spurs.

The Wizards traded Rui Hachimura to the Lakers in exchange for Kendrick Nunn and three second-round draft picks. The 6 ‘8 forward is averaging 12.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and an assist this season, and the Lakers made additional moves before the trade deadline to further bolster their roster alongside Hachimura. With the Lakers adding Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell, three-point shooter Malik Beasley, defensive stalwart Jarred Vanderbilt, and young center Mo Bamba, they are also poised for a playoff run with new depth and improved shooting presence. 

Nunn has been playing 20-plus minutes in most games since he joined Washington, with coach Wes Unseld Jr. using him as a facilitator alongside Kyle Kuzma. Since he was traded to the Wizards, the team has gone 6-3.

Some other trades:

  • The day before the deadline, Kyrie Irving and Markieff Morris were traded to the Dallas Mavericks for Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, and draft compensation. Irving, who previously won a championship with LeBron on the Cavaliers, was also being targeted by the Lakers. Irving’s contract expires this year.
  • Triple-double machine Russell Westbrook was traded to Utah, with former All-Star D’Angelo Russell moving to the Lakers and veteran guard Michael Conley was reunited with Rudy Gobert in Minnesota.
  • Former No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman was traded from Golden State to Detroit, basically for former Warrior Gary Payton Jr. 
  • Former Wizard All-Star John Wall was traded back to the Rockets in a three-team deal that sent three-point shooting guard Luke Kennard to Memphis and veteran Eric Gordon back to the Clippers. Wall was traded from Washington to Houston for Russell Westbrook in December 2020.
  • In a three-team swap, the 76ers are adding defensive-minded Jalen McDaniels and two second-round draft picks, the Trail Blazers are receiving Cam Reddish from the Knicks and Matisse Thybulle from the 76ers, and Josh Hart is moving to the Knicks.

We asked local fans what they thought of this year’s trade deadline and how they believe it will affect the playoff picture.

WI: What impact does this trade have on Kevin Durant’s championship aspirations?

 “I think this is the best recent move he’s made, business-wise. CP3 and  Booker aren’t Steph, Klay [or] Draymond, but the Suns’ ‘big three’ have the capacity to win a championship and are definitely now the favorites in the West. KD, Kyrie, Harden hated the Nets front office and also having an inexperienced coach at the helm of a super team was not a good idea. The Nets experiment was doomed to fall due to lack of depth, defense, and direction. Like Kyrie said, I’m glad he got outta there.” – Kofi, Fort Washington

WI: How does the trade deadline affect the playoff picture? 

“The trade deadline this year was one of the most frantic, hectic, and enjoyable pieces in NBA history in recent memory. We had one of the top 15 players of all time dealt to a team that is a couple years removed from a finals appearance. A slew of role players and stars in their roles moved to different organizations to where most could have a very strong impact on the future of said teams. I believe the trades will affect the playoff picture in a big way.” – Marcellus, Lanham

WI: Who do you believe is the championship favorite now and why?

“We have teams like the Phoenix Suns, who looked like they were on the verge of breaking it up this offseason. And Durant, he propels them to be the betting favorite to make it to the finals automatically. The Suns lost key role players and draft capital but does it matter when you have an aging CP3, and this is the best chance the team will have to win a title? They lost a lot of depth but Kevin Durant has won the championship without depth before.” – Marcellus, Lanham

WI: What was your favorite trade of the deadline?

“Too hard to choose. Durant, Kyrie, D-Lo, Saadiq Bey, Bones Hyland, Mo Bamba. Gary Payton II gets honorable mention.” – Nick, National Harbor

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