Suns star Kevin Durant


Suns star Kevin Durant


Getty

Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns reacts to a jump ball during the first half of game four of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

While the Phoenix Suns remain adamant they would not break up their Big Three of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, it has not stopped people around the NBA from speculating and dropping mock trades.

One trade proposal came from Sporting News’ Jake Uitti which could set up the Suns hitting two birds with one stone — give them depth and replenish their draft capital.

Phoenix Suns receive: Michael Porter Jr., Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, 2028 and 2030 first-round picks

Denver Nuggets receive: Kevin Durant

Uitti proposed this trade with the idea that “Caldwell-Pope opt into his player option for next season, perhaps with a wink and a nod that the Suns would extend him.”

While Porter cannot hold a candle to Durant’s Hall of Fame resume, he is 10 years younger and a deadly shooter who can complement Booker and Beal. Caldwell-Pope would give the Suns an elite perimeter defender which they sorely lacked in their first-round flameout.


Suns Want to Maximize Kevin Durant

After Durant’s well-chronicled disconnect with the Suns coaching staff last season, Phoenix general manager James Jones said they want to become the first team to maximize Durant’s talent.

“I tell you, that’s a constant focus for us to continue to figure out how to maximize Kevin Durant,” Jones said during his exit interview on May 1 at Footprint Center. “No one has done it yet. I believe we will be the first team to do it because if we can maximize him, we can maximize our entire roster. We’re a better team, but that’s not an issue. I think Kevin had a phenomenal season this year offensively.”

“I think he had some of the best stretches of his career this year,” Jones continued. “So it wasn’t an offensive thing. It wasn’t a utilization or usage thing. It was just the totality of figuring out when and where and how to do it together. We just could not get on the same page.”

“A constant focus for us is to continue how to figure out and maximize Kevin Durant. No one has done it yet. I believe we’ll be the 1st team to do it.”

James Jones.

“When he’s playing at the highest level, he makes us a really, really good team and we’re damn near unbeatable.”

Durant averaged 27.1 points on 52/41/86 shooting split across 75 games in his first full season with the Suns. It was the most games the 35-year-old superstar has played since returning from an Achilles injury in 2019.

 


Mike Budenholzer Excited to Coach Suns

Mike Budenholzer, who replaced Frank Vogel, is excited to return to coaching with a team that has title aspirations.

“I’m excited about working with this roster and these players,” Budenholzer told reporters during his introductory press conference. “We have great players. And with great players come great expectations. I think we embrace that.”

Budenholzer, a two-time NBA Coach of the Year and a champion coach, said coaching the Suns is a dream come true being from Arizona.

“It’s mind-boggling to me, like mind-blowing, to think that I’m going to be the head coach of the Phoenix Suns,” Budenholzer said.

The biggest message I want you to hear is that I would coach this team if it was on the moon. I would coach this team if it was in Alaska. If these players were in Denmark. … I would go anywhere to coach this team.”

 

Alder Almo is a basketball journalist covering the NBA for Heavy.com. He has more than 15 years of experience in local and international media, including broadcast, print and digital. He previously covered the Knicks for Empire Sports Media and the NBA for Off the Glass. Alder is from the Philippines and is now based in Jersey City, New Jersey. More about Alder Almo



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