Phoenix Suns land Kevin Durant in blockbuster trade

The new team owner makes an immediate splash
FILE  -Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant smiles during the first half of an NBA basketball game...
FILE -Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant smiles during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers at the Barclays Center, Sunday, Apr. 10, 2022, in New York. Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets plan to stay together after all, even after the All-Star forward asked to be traded earlier this summer. The Nets said Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, that the team's leadership met a day earlier with Durant and business partner Rich Kleiman in Los Angeles and “agreed to move forward with our partnership,” general manager Sean Marks said in a statement.(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)(Seth Wenig | AP)
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 11:35 PM MST|Updated: Feb. 9, 2023 at 4:48 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5/AP) -- The Phoenix Suns have landed superstar forward Kevin Durant in a blockbuster deal ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. The Suns will send Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, four first-round draft picks, and a pick swap in 2028 to the Brooklyn Nets for Durant and T.J. Warren. Crowder was then flipped to the Milwaukee Bucks in a separate trade, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The move comes after Mat Ishbia was announced as the Suns new team owner. Ishbia thanked Bridges, Johnson and Crowder and was thrilled to bring Durant to the Valley of the Sun. “Mikal, Cam and Jae have been franchise cornerstones during one of the most successful runs in team history. I want to thank them for all that they have contributed to the community in Phoenix and to this organization,” Ishbia said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “Today is a transformative day for this organization. We are thrilled to welcome Kevin and T.J. to the Valley as we build a championship culture both on and off the court,” Ishbia added. “Not only is Kevin one of the greatest and most accomplished players in the history of the sport, but his character also embodies the world class commitment to excellence we are instilling across every facet of this organization. T.J. is a natural leader whose work ethic and commitment to getting better every day make him an important addition to the team as he returns to the Valley. Phoenix will be one of the best organizations in all of sports and we are so excited to start our journey with this incredibly dynamic team.”

Bridges reacted to the late-night news with a tweet that simply read, “omygod lol.” Bridges holds the NBA’s longest active streak of most consecutive games played, with 388 so far. He’s never missed a game in his college or NBA career. Bridges and Johnson earned the nickname ‘The Twins’ due to their similar playing style and always being around each other.

The 34-year-old Durant is one of the greatest scorers in NBA history. The 13-time NBA All-Star has led the league in scoring four times in his career, and won the 2013-2014 NBA MVP award. In 39 games this season with the Nets, Durant is averaging 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists. Durant is also a three-time Olympic gold medalist, representing the U.S. Men’s National Team. Durant is no stranger to playing with Phoenix’s biggest names. He won gold alongside Chris Paul in 2012 and under head coach Monty Williams in 2016, and just recently grabbed the gold in 2020 with Devin Booker.

Phoenix has never won an NBA championship. The Suns made the Finals two seasons ago, but lost to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in six games. They also played in the Finals in 1976 and 1993. The quartet of Durant, Paul, Booker and Ayton appears to immediately turn the franchise into title contenders again.

The Suns have had several injuries this season, but played better in recent weeks. They jumped to fifth in the Western Conference with a 30-26 record. Booker (groin) and Paul (hip) have both recently returned. Durant is currently recovering from a ligament strain in his right knee, but is expected to return soon.

When former Nets teammate Kyrie Irving heard the news, he said: “I’m just glad that he got out of there.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.