Brooklyn, having already traded Kyrie Irving for Dallas, free KD who ends up in Phoenix. Unloaded (also) by LeBron, Russell lands in Utah

    Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns. The news comes at dawn in Italy and is the watershed of the NBA season. Change power relationships and scenarios. With the expiry of the trading market getting closer and closer, set for 21 today, Italian time, anything happens. The Brooklyn Nets sell their main star, after having already traded Kyrie Irving with Dallas. A few hours earlier the Los Angeles Lakers had completed a three-team trade, with Utah and Minnesota, to send Russell Westbrook to Salt Lake City, while D’Angelo Russell arrives in California, or rather returns, while Mike Conley ends up in Minneapolis. In short, on the same night Durant and Westbrook, teammates in Oklahoma City for years and faces of the League, change teams.


    Facts first. Kevin Durant, 34, moves from the Nets to the Suns. Which also brings forward TJ Warren to the Arizona desert from Brooklyn. In return they pay the moon, inevitably. In detail, Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, four future first-round picks in the Draft (of 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029, all unprotected) and the exchange of the 2028 pick with Brooklyn. Durant wanted to leave New York following Irving’s departure. Settled. The Nets refound. They take note of the failure of the technical project based on the Durant/Irving duo (for a short time that became a trio with James Harden) and look to the future starting from the young again. Bridges above all. The new owner of the Suns shows up with a business card that doesn’t go unnoticed: taking Durant was the dream of many NBA franchises, these days on the alert for KD’s discontent and the vicissitudes of the Brooklyn market. With Durant, Paul and Booker together, Phoenix probably becomes the favorite of the West, and perhaps the absolute favorite in the prospect of the title. It’s about trying to win right away because Paul and Durant aren’t getting younger and KD is under contract for another 3 years and $153 million. But the fleeting moment must be seized in the NBA…

    coming and going LAKERS

    Less sensational, but still thunderous the move of the Los Angeles Lakers. That Russell Westbrook, 34, had done his time in the city of angels was known, explicitly downloaded from LeBron James, and not from today. The yellow-purples had tried to sign Irving as his replacement, but they hadn’t succeeded. Now they fall back on D’Angelo Russell, 26, a comeback horse. Drafted in pick #2 of the 2015 Draft and then offloaded two seasons later, traded to the Nets. The three-team trade is perfected in these terms: first of all, guard Malik Beasley and big man Jarred Vanderbilt also go to the Lakers. The Minnesota Timberwolves end instead Mike Conley, who will become their starting director, among other things he has a good understanding with Gobert perfected thanks to the common past, the other winger Nickeil Alexander-Walker and three future second round picks from 2024 to 2026 Finally, the Jazz receive Westbrook, the forward Juan Toscano-Anderson, the center Damian Jones and a first pick of the Draft 2027 by the Lakers, protected for the first four calls. The Lakers therefore satisfy LeBron, who asked for reinforcements. Russell and Beasley are out of contract, reinforcements for the immediate, first of all. We’ll see. Russell is certainly not the most reliable player, on and off the field, but he is crystal clear talent. The Jazz seem willing to work on a consensual termination of Westbrook’s contract which, if he is released, would be interested in Miami, Chicago and the Los Angeles Clippers.