I picked a good time to wake suddenly at 4:30 in the morning. Bleary-eyed, but surprisingly awake, I decided to grab my phone. I wasn’t really expecting to do anything or see any news, but it’s a sick compulsion plenty of us are familiar with.
To my shock, and that’s putting it mildly, I saw that Kevin Durant and TJ Warren were traded to the Phoenix Suns for a haul that included up to four first-round picks, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson and Jae Crowder.
It’s the biggest NBA trade deadline deal since ... I’m not sure, honestly, the coffee hasn’t even kicked in yet. While I still expect an exceedingly quiet deadline for the Detroit Pistons, I do think this deal has nudged the odds ever so slightly more toward the Pistons being willing to part with sharp-shooting forward Bojan Bogdanovic. Put simply, Detroit has a high asking price, and the KD move to Phoenix might entice Western Conference GMs that if they hope to keep pace with the Suns, that is an asking price worth meeting.
If you’re contemplating some of top names on the speculative trade market, you hear a lot about Bojan, OG Anunoby in Toronto, John Collins in Atlanta, and even Zach LaVine in Chicago. Of that group, I think there’s a good shot all stay put, though I think the best odds probably belong to Collins. Atlanta has had their versatile big man on the market for years with nobody willing to meet its asking price. Today might be the day they finally get their asking price.
Speaking of the Suns, Collins, and the Pistons, it seemed like as Phoenix was looking to make a splash in the first days of Matt Ishbia’s ownership, there was almost a three-team trade involving Detroit, Phoenix and Atlanta.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who Woj Bomb’ed the story in the early morning hours Thursday, after being rebuffed by the Nets initially, Ishbia moved on to the aforementioned three-team framework.
The Suns had been talking with Detroit about the possibility of acquiring Collins in a three-way deal with Atlanta, but Ishbia wouldn’t call it a night without making one more run at Durant.
There had been murmurs that the Suns were previously interested in Collins so if I had to speculate, I imagine the framework would have looked something like this. The Suns receive Collins, the Hawks receive Jae Crowder and Bojan Bogdanovic, and the Pistons receive an expiring like Dario Saric and multiple picks from Phoenix.
Again, that’s just me speculating. Could the Pistons get a similar haul in this new-look West among potential contenders like the Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, Denver Nuggets or Los Angeles Lakers/Clippers? We shall see.
In all likelihood, the Hawks might be stuck where they’ve always been — trying to move John Collins. The Raptors might be happy building around Scottie Barnes and OG as the young but kinda old vet. They did just trade for Jakob Poeltl, after all. And the Pistons will be just fine finishing at the bottom of the standings this year with a high (hopefully very high) draft pick incoming, a healthy Cade Cunningham, a seasoned Jaen Ivey and Jalen Duren, and vets like Alec Burks and Bogdanovic to serve as valuable role players. While also having $40 million to throw around should the right deal come along.
The craziest part of the deadline is already behind us, but that doesn’t mean today is destined to be quiet — even if we get no changes in Detroit. We will know more after the deadline expires at 3 p.m. ET.