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The Phoenix Suns stole the spotlight early Thursday morning, acquiring All-NBA forward Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets in a 5 player, 5 pick trade, vastly changing the landscape of both the East & West conferences.

Phoenix Acquires

Kevin Durant (F, 34)
Durant is in year one of a 4 year, $194.2M contract. He brings a $44.1M cap hit with him to the Suns for the remainder of 2022-23, $10M more than any other rostered Phoenix player. Before his injury, Durant was averaging 29.7 points, 5 assists, and 6 rebounds per game.

T.J. Warren (F, 29)
Warren brings a 1 year veteran minimum contract over to Phoenix, including a $1.83M cap hit for the remainder of the season. His usage has been cut in half this season as a role player for Brooklyn, but that may change with a reshuffled Suns’ lineup. He’s slated for unrestricted free agency this July.

Brooklyn Acquires

Mikal Bridges (F, 26)
Bridges is in year one of a 4 year, $90.9M contract, including a $21M cap hit for the 2022-23 season. He’s been posting career-highs across the board to date, to the tune of 17.2 points, 3.5 assists, and 4.3 boards per game, and should have no trouble maintaining his current 36+ minutes per game for Brooklyn.

Cam Johnson (F, 26)
Johnson is finishing off the final year of his rookie contract on a $5.8M cap hit, with restricted free agency ahead of him this summer. He reportedly turned down a 4 year, $68M extension offer from Phoenix last fall, but a knee injury has limited his action to just 17 games thus far since. His financial future will very much be defined by how his role & subsequent production can stabilize with Brooklyn over the next four months.

Jae Crowder (F, 32)
Crowder becomes the ghost player in this move, as he’s been voluntarily away from the Suns, awaiting a trade out of Phoenix. He’ll have a role in Brooklyn (if he wants one), as the Nets currently sit 29th in the league in rebounds and paint possession production. Crowder brings an expiring $10.1M cap hit with him to Brooklyn, with unrestricted free agency ahead of him this July.

Four Unprotected First Round Picks
Phoenix has agreed to send Brooklyn unprotected first round picks in 2023, 2025, 2027, & 2029, while also offering up a 1st round pick swap in 2028 (if applicable).

A four unprotected pick trade is unprecedented, though it aligns with the recent blockbuster moves we’ve seen in past months. Rudy Gobert’s move to Minnesota included 4 first round picks plus a pick swap, but only two of the four were unprotected. Donovan Mitchell’s move to Cleveland included 3 first round picks (all unprotected) plus two pick swaps.

The last trade on record that included four unprotected picks was Paul George's move from OKC to the Clippers. The Thunder acquired Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari a 2021 unprotected 1st, a 2022 unprotected 1st, a 2023 protected 1st, a 2023 swap, a 2024 unprotected 1st, a 2025 swap, and a 2026 unprotected 1st. 

The Trade Financials

On its surface, Brooklyn acquired $37,071,699 of cap for the 2022-23 season, but sent out $45,960,935 to Phoenix with this move, an $8.88M savings for the Nets.

But it’s the tax numbers that really pop out here:
In adding that $8.8M of salary, the Phoenix Suns’ projected tax bill for 2022-23 increased from $35.5M, to $67.6M. Their 2023-24 tax space dwindled down to a projected $2.5M.

Brooklyn on the other hand lowered its projected tax bill for this season down from $71.7M to $38.5M, and now sit with about $16.5M of tax space for the 2023-24 season.

2022-23 Odds

The Suns entered the trade deadline as +1900 odds to win the NBA Championship this season. That number has dropped to +4600 as of Thursday. Kevin Durant will do that.

The Nets entered the trade deadline as +750 odds to win the NBA Championship this season. That number has soared to +10,000 as of Thursday. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant will do that.