MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Kevin Durant sweepstakes has new life and the Grizzlies are reportedly one of the teams interested in landing the superstar. In short, the Grizzlies could put together an enticing package for the Nets. The problem is, it’s likely much more than they’re willing to give.
NBA Insider Shams Charania poured new gas on the fire that is the Kevin Durant trade rumors. In a new report for The Athletic on Monday, Charania has the Grizzlies as the latest team interested in bringing the 12-time All-Star to their city.
Is it real interest or just offseason gossip? The Commercial Appeal’s DaMichael Cole says it’s the former.
"I think the Grizzlies are more so just kicking the tires here. Just trying to get an idea, 'ok what would it take to get Kevin Durant? How much is the cost? Can we do it without giving up X or Y?'" Cole said.
The Grizzlies have five draft picks they could use in a package to the Nets and plenty of players to match Durant’s $44.1 million salary next year. If Cole were playing general manager, several of the Grizzlies vets would be involved.
“Steven Adams' $17 million dollars, the final year of a $17 million dollar deal, he has to be included in this. Danny Green, last year of his deal, that’s $10 million dollars right there," Cole said. "Dillon Brooks is another contract you could throw in there. $11 million."
A young player like Ziaire Williams or maybe a rookie would also have to be involved to match KD's salary. Off the table are Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr and Desmond Bane.
NY Post Brooklyn Nets writer Brian Lewis says if you’re offering up your fourth best player for KD, you’re wasting your time.
"I think they’re preference is to bring him into camp and they’re not interested in taking a deal that’s subpar and for the most part every deal they’ve been offered is subpar," Lewis said.
Subpar partially because the market was reset by the Rudy Gobert deal where the Jazz received five impact players and five draft picks for their All-Defensive center.
"Sean Marks can then sit back and say, 'ok, Rudy Gobert is a nice player. This is Kevin Durant. You know who he is.' Yeah that kind of changes the complexion of things and makes it more difficult.”
Ultimately depth has been the Grizzlies M.O. and Cole doubts they’ll gut the team to make a superstar splash.
“I think this front office, they value this team that they’ve built from the ground up from having the number two pick four years ago to now being able to compete for a title,” Cole said.
A team can’t really match value of a future hall of famer in Durant, but if the Grizzlies refuse to part ways with any of their top three players, the chances of the Slim Reaper donning Buff City blue remain slim.