Earlier this week, Kyrie Irving finally got his wish: a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. The star point guard ended up being traded to the Dallas Mavericks, to team up with Luka Doncic in the Western Conference.

Just two days later, the Nets made an even bigger splash that will send ripple effects across the NBA: Brooklyn pulled the plug on the Kevin Durant-era, ending a promising but ultimately underwhelming tenure with the franchise.

Durant is headed to the Phoenix Suns, a team that originally had interest in acquiring the superstar last off-season.

Phoenix gives up a pretty sizable ransom for Durant’s services (Brooklyn also included T.J. Warren in the trade.) The Suns send the Nets:

  • Mikal Bridges
  • Cam Johnson
  • Jae Crowder
  • 2023, 2025, 2027, 2029 1st Round Picks (all unprotected)
  • 2028 1st Round Pick Swap Option

Brooklyn gets a good haul of role players, and can probably stay in the Eastern Conference playoff picture this season, but without a star player to hold everything together, the Nets championship aspirations were basically evaporated overnight.

But with four 1st round picks and a pick swap over the next seven years, the Nets will be receiving dividends from this trade for a while.

For Phoenix, the depth and team chemistry that got the Suns to the NBA Finals two seasons ago may take a hit. Crowder, Johnson, and Bridges were all integral pieces in Phoenix’s rotation.

But now, on paper, the Suns can have Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, and D’Andre Ayton on the court at the same time. An absolute monster of a lineup, coupled with Booker’s recent return, could help the Suns recover from a so-so first half of this season.

Phoenix’s ceiling is certainly higher with Durant on the roster, and reaching at least the Western Conference Finals is probably the expectation now.

It’s high-risk, high-reward. If Durant or Booker go down with an injury, Phoenix will probably miss that depth that traded away. But if everyone stays healthy through June, there’s a solid chance that Durant will lift a Larry O’Brien trophy with his third different franchise.

Should the Suns be the new favorites in the Western Conference? Or will the top-seeded Denver Nuggets hold on to win the West?

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