Here's why a Kevin Durant trade to the Wizards trade doesn't make sense

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Why a Kevin Durant trade to Wizards does not make sense originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

NBA free agency is cyclical every few years. Kevin Durant has reportedly requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, so naturally, Washington Wizards fans make the reasonable decision to re-ignite the old #KD2DC chatter to bring Prince George's County's greatest son back home.

Well, this time it doesn't make sense - nor did it really ever make sense in free agency a few years ago - to acquire Durant. And yes, obviously it doesn't make sense for Durant who is presumably ring chasing at this point in his career. It also isn't clear how it would work for the Wizards with their salary cap obligations and the number of assets a trade of that magnitude would take.

First, let's see what a trade would even require.

One would assume that bringing in Durant would put the Wizards in a full-on commitment to vie for a championship. No more pedaling around the fringes of the playoffs.  That means Bradley Beal isn't getting traded as a part of it and his estimated $43.3 million goes against the salary cap. All of a sudden, it becomes really difficult to take on Durant's four-year, $194 million contract and the $42.9 million he's owed for the 2022-23 season.

Financially, the deal would have to include Kristaps Porzingis if Beal is not a part of it. Otherwise, the trio of a supermaxed Beal ($43+ million a year), Durant and Porzingis would put the team within $10 million of the salary cap without anyone else factored in.

Keep in mind that Brooklyn isn't going to just give Durant away in an effort to begin tanking. Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons presumably still keep the franchise at a competitive threshold. They wouldn't want to hit a full reset button, yet. They realistically couldn't after most of Brooklyn's first-round picks are owned by the Houston Rockets anyway after the James Harden trade. What would they be tanking for?

Related: 5 best fits for Kevin Durant

So what does the trade machine say? Washington has to clear its cap space with Durant on the roster. Moving Porzingis would do that, according to figures on Spotrac.

Hypothetically speaking, a trade involving Porzingis, Deni Avdija and Corey Kispert would work, according to ESPN's Trade Machine. But a question remains on how much other teams value the Wizards' young players. Avdija, Kispert and even Rui Hachimura have shown promise over their short careers. They work well for Washington to give them time to develop. Are they contributors to a team led by Irving and Simmons is another question.

ESPN Trade Machine

Actual figures are not quite accurate because they represent the 2021-22 season, but they're close. Still, three-for-one is not attainable for Washington financially. That's not even factoring in the first-round picks the Wizards would have to include just for the Nets to consider the offer. You thought building a roster will Beal's original contract was a difficult task? The bottom half of Washington's roster would have to be minimum-salary players just to field a full team.

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard has just spent the last three offseasons working the franchise out of a cap-strapped situation based on two players. Just look at how he transformed the John Wall contract. Would he jump in head-first to committing over $85 million of a reported $123 million salary cap to just two guys? It simply does not make sense after all of the work he did to reset the roster.

That hypothetical also guts nearly the entirety of Wizards youth and mortgages their future. Johnny Davis and Hachimura would be the two young pieces left. Many future first-round picks would be gone as well.

The assets simply aren't there for Washington to pull this off. Sheppard and the Wizards finally have some capital to be able to make a move. Making it for Durant, however, just simply isn't in the cards. NBC Sports' betting partner, PointsBet agrees and hasn't even listed odds for the Wizards getting Durant in this circus.

PointsBet

Perhaps the Wizards' best option out of the latest chapter in the Nets-Durant saga is just to wait. Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and Joe Harris are more reasonable trade options for Washington once the dust settles if Brooklyn decides to blow it all up and start a total rebuild.