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Rumor: 76ers will continue to ask Nets about Kevin Durant trade

Michael Holley, Vincent Goodwill, and Tom Haberstroh react to Brooklyn's 32-point loss against the Kings, Kevin Durant's comments on why he requested an offseason trade, and why it's bad that he said the "quiet part" out loud.

Kevin Durant quickly grows frustrated with the off-the-court focus of NBA coverage, but once again he finds himself in the middle of it (and not of his own doing this time around).

Two things are true: 1) Jacque Vaughn has gotten the Nets to play better defense and, with that, start to turn the season around (he is 4-3 as a head coach with a +10.1 net rating so far); 2) Daryl Morey will never stop hunting superstar players.

Enter this rumor from Sean Deveney of Morey and the 76ers are still going to see about a Kevin Durant trade.

“There is no doubt the Sixers have asked on Durant, they did in the summer, and will keep asking about him,” an Eastern Conference executive told Deveney. “But the Nets are going to be a little put off by them already because of the Ben Simmons thing because they feel like they were set up to give away James Harden all along. So the Sixers burned them once, do the Nets want to go back and say, OK, sure, we’ll do a KD deal, too.”...

“The main thing is, though, does Tyrese Maxey get put into the deal? Because then the Nets have to listen, they might not get a better young player than him in any deal they make for Durant. Maxey, Tobias Harris, and (Matisse) Thybulle would work, but the Nets would not get any picks in the deal because Philly can’t offer any right now. If that is all that is on the table, Brooklyn would have to pass.”

I want to say there is zero chance the 76ers would throw Maxey in a Durant trade — there SHOULD be zero chance — but because of the way Morey hunts stars I can’t quite go to zero. Still, one percent? Two? It remains improbable.

Durant still has the levers of control here, the Nets aren’t going to trade him unless he asks out, but that could happen — nobody thinks it’s all ice cream and puppies in Brooklyn right now. However, if the Nets are trading Durant, they will want picks and young players because moving on from KD would be pivoting from “win now” to retooling/rebuilding. That still seems a more “next offseason” kind of decision than a trade deadline kind of move, but this is the NBA, so never say never. If the Durant door opens, expect the Suns and 20+ other teams to lob a call and see if they can spark talks.

Just know that whatever happens Morey and the 76ers will keep calling, even if Sean Marks keeps hanging up on them.