Suns acquire superstar Kevin Durant

Jason Chen 

Memphis Grizzlies Star guard Ja Morant said in an interview, “I’m fine in the west.” Just before the trade deadline closed on Feb.9, the Phoenix Suns traded for Kevin Durant, sending Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder and four unprotected first-round picks to the Brooklyn Nets, rendering Morant’s statement blasphemous.

The Suns have arguably been the most hated team in the NBA after their cocky and boastful NBA Finals run in 2021.

Since the run, their team performance has been lackluster as they haven’t been able to make their way back to the finals.

This season almost went poorly as well, as the Suns fell as far as seventh in the West. The Suns have rallied back to the fifth seed and while most expected the team to trade for a decent role player, they’ve landed the biggest prize in the trade market.

The Kevin Durant trade was done particularly well, not because it is Kevin Durant, but also because they didn’t have to give up their core rotation players. Initially, many thought that the trade would need to consist of Chris Paul and more of their role players, but the Suns gave up only a few good role players and one rising star, Bridges.

Retaining Paul and Devin Booker is crucial, as they are the foundation of the Suns’ organization. The reasons for the Suns’ recent sluggish performances have been injuries, Chris Paul’s old age, and the league’s understanding of how to play against them.

Durant is a multi-faceted wing and is able to create plenty of offense for himself. A trio of Paul, Durant and Booker is deadly offensively and no team in the NBA can create isolation plays like the new-looking Suns.

The Phoenix Suns would play the Mavericks if the playoffs were to begin today. Needless to say, it would be entertaining to see Durant and Kyrie Irving, now playing for the Mavericks, battle it out in the first round.

Arguably, the West has been the weakest it has ever been. The Denver Nuggets are the first seed in the West, and they haven’t been consistently winning enough to be revered. The Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings are up and coming young teams with great players but are relatively inexperienced.

The Phoenix Suns, in contrast, have very solid veteran presence in Paul and Durant. They also have a solid and experienced coach in Monty Williams, along with some solid role players like Cameron Payne and Deandre Ayton.

However the biggest hurdle that the Suns will have to overcome are injury issues. Paul has missed a chunk of the season with injuries, while Durant and Booker do not have a track record of being the healthiest players.

There is also a problem of the robust teams in the East. The Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and the

Philadelphia 76ers are all solid teams with a superstar on their roster as well as strong supporting pieces around them. The newly formed Suns would need to win the West as well as beat the tough teams in the East for the championship.

However, with their talent, it would not be surprising to see the team make a run in the West.