Phoenix Suns have a Kevin Durant problem


Leaf8613 | Wikimedia Commons

Josias Fernandez

Since LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010 to form a super team in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the NBA superstar changed the league forever. The NBA player culture, before LeBron’s decision, was to stay in the franchise one was drafted to.

However, James’s decision gave athletes the confidence to form their own super teams. In 2016, Kevin Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder after almost 11 years with the team.

Durant’s decision was highly criticized by the media, NBA fans and especially Thunder fans.

For Durant, all the hate and critiques were worth it. With the Golden State Warriors, he became a two-time NBA Champion and Finals Most Valuable Player.

In 2019, Durant suffered a torn Achilles in his right foot, and he could not play in the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. Despite the injury, Durant continued his journey in the NBA and signed a 4-year contract with the Brooklyn Nets, teaming up with superstar guard Kyrie Irving.

In the 2022 NBA playoffs, a Nets team lead by Durant and Irving were abruptly beaten by a young Boston Celtics team that clinched a trip to the Finals later that year but lost against the Golden State Warriors.

The Nets played much better after the firing of coach Steve Nash. Durant and Irving led the team to a 12-game winning streak; however, the NBA fans did not expect what happened during the trade deadline.

Irving was traded to the Dallas Mavericks. Some media analysts suggested that the Nets got rid of Irving because they could not agree on a contract extension. After Irving’s trade to Dallas, Durant went to the front office and asked to be traded to the Phoenix Suns with Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton.

The bomb exploded during midnight: Durant had been traded to the Suns in exchange for Cameron Johnson, Mikal Bridges and draft considerations. From this moment, the Suns had a problem.

The Suns gave up their entire backup for the playoffs. NBA champions are successful because of teamwork. It is not surprising that the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics are the favorites to win this year’s championship because they have the deepest lineups.

Phoenix is depending on a 38-year-old guard, Paul, to distribute the game during the playoffs, while knowing that Paul’s performance tends to slow down during the final stretch of the season.

Ayton is not an elite rebounder, last year against the Mavericks he got dominated by the Mavs’ big men.

This leaves only two reliable options for Phoenix: Durant and Booker.

However, the Suns’ new team does not have chemistry. Although Durant is 7-0 with the team, the low number of games played generates concern.