Sixers: Kevin Durant no longer available… for now

Joel Embiid, Sixers (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid, Sixers (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images) /

The Sixers were among the group of contenders who inquired about Kevin Durant’s availability, but for now, it appears no deal is going to happen. In an official statement from the Brooklyn Nets, it was announced that Durant and the franchise will “move forward [their] partnership.”

This comes after months of speculation around Durant’s future after he requested a trade, and then doubled down on that trade request. The 34-year-old no doubt wants to compete, and Brooklyn’s inability to build a winner last season — combined with their refusal to extend Durant’s friend Kyrie Irving — likely factored into his demand.

On the other hand, Durant has four years remaining on his contract. The incentive for Brooklyn to rush into a trade before the season was slim to none, and the Nets do — on paper — have a contender in house. With Ben Simmons set to return and Kyrie set to play the full season, the Nets could quickly emerge as a legitimate threat in the East. Joe Harris is also returning to the rotation, while new additions such as T.J. Warren and Royce O’Neale flesh out the depth chart.

Will the Sixers ever have a chance to trade for Kevin Durant?

The Sixers were already operating at a disadvantage in Durant trade talks, having already spent most of their draft capital on James Harden last season. Tyrese Maxey is a tantalizing centerpiece of any trade, but Philadelphia probably can’t put enough around him to tempt Brooklyn if Durant ever re-enters the trade market.

There’s no guarantee Durant will stay off the trade market. While the four-time scoring champ is seemingly committed ahead of next season, the Nets will have to prove they can win games and build chemistry. The Steve Nash relationship seems especially tenuous, while the bad taste of last season could be hard to wash out.

Philadelphia fans should mentally prepare for the current roster to be the roster entering next season. They should also prepare for Ben Simmons and the Nets to poise a real threat in the East, but that team is too talented to not compete on some level — so long as Durant does, in fact, stick around.

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