Lakers’ Offer for Kevin Durant Sparks Trade Buzz Amid Reported ‘Frustration’

LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns.

The Los Angeles Lakers, like many teams around the league, have trended away from the “big three” model, opting instead for a strong supporting cast around a pair of star players.

It isn’t working as well as they’d hoped coming into the season, though, and they could be ripe for an upgrade. How big of an upgrade will likely come down to the opportunity that presents itself.

Phoenix Suns star Kevin Durant may be on the verge of doing just that.

“You talk to people in Phoenix and around that organization, they can feel the frustration with Durant,” ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski said on NBA Countdown on December 25. “This is something they’re going to have to manage in Phoenix with Kevin Durant. You’ve seen it before.”

Wojnarowski is referring to Durant’s history of demanding trades when things don’t go as planned with his situation at the time.

This is where the Lakers can swoop in and go all-in in the twilight of LeBron James’ career.

Lakers get:

– Kevin Durant

Suns get:

– D’Angelo Russell– Rui Hachimura– Taurean Prince– Max Christie– 2029 first-round pick– 2030 first-round pick swap

Durant has been traded twice in his career. The first time, Durant was to the Brooklyn Nets in 2019. His second trade came at the deadline in February last season, sending him to the Suns.

This last one was the first during the season.

Like the Lakers, the Suns have struggled of late, winning just three of their last 12 games. As Wojnarowski notes, injuries – mostly to Bradley Beal – have stunted the Suns’ progress, leaving the organization scrambling to right the ship without the proper assets to pursue upgrades.

“There’s a lot at stake for this organization,” Wojnarowski continued. “It’s gotta change soon.”

“KD should leave SUNS,” former NBA guard Brandon Jennings posted on X, formerly Twitter, on December 26. “They cursed man. He don’t deserve this”

Lakers Built to Withstand Trade for Kevin Durant

Russell’s name has been mentioned in trade rumors since this offseason when he re-signed on a two-year, $36 million contract and waived his implied no-trade privileges. His recent move to the bench only bolsters the idea that he will be involved in any substantial trade offers.

He would give the Suns more of a lead guard than they currently have on the roster, though he is still more of a scorer than a true point guard.

Hachimura grew close to James this past offseason. He already impressed the Lakers enough to earn a three-year, $51 million contract. The Lakers cannot trade Hachimura until January 15 due to his new deal. He dealt with injuries and inconsistency earlier in the season but is averaging 12.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists over the last 10 games.

Christie has flashed in limited opportunities, despite averaging a modest 4.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in just over four minutes per game across 22 appearances. In his six starts this season, Christie has averaged 6.7 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.2 assists.

Prince would arguably be the biggest loss. He’s started all 29 of his appearances and is shooting 39.4% from beyond the arc.

But the Lakers could be light on options, per Wojnarowski. Going big could be the best option.

The Lakers could offer this or something similar and still boast depth around a star trio of Durant, James, and Anthony Davis. Phoenix could insist on the inclusion of Austin Reaves, a coveted contributor around the league.

There has been no interest in that from the Lakers’ side. A trade for the mercurial – and older – Durant might not be worth changing that stance for.

They are limited in draft capital they can send. Durant’s history could help them in that regard.

Kevin Durant Pushes Back on Insider’s Claims

Durant has never been shy about interacting with fans on social media, and this time is no different. He came out in apparent denial of Wojnarowski’s claims.

“Woj says someone else “feels” that I’m frustrated and it turned into me being mentally checked out,” Durant said in response to a fan on Instagram on December 26. “This s*** is crazy, these people can flat out lie on my name and make s*** up and you people will believe it but when my teammates and coaches speak on how I am as a teammate, u ignore it.”

Durant is in the second year of a four-year, $194 million contract.

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