The NBA prohibits teams from trading for two players who have signed Designated Rookie extensions.
The rule means the Nets can't acquire 13 players in a possible trade for Kevin Durant because they have Ben Simmons, who is on a Designated Rookie extension.
The obscure rule will make a Durant trade more complicated for the Nets.
There is no shortage of Kevin Durant suitors, but the Brooklyn Nets are somewhat limited in who they can get in return, thanks to a little-known NBA rule.
Durant requested a trade from the Nets on Thursday, setting off perhaps the biggest sweepstakes the NBA has ever seen. The 34-year-old is still in MVP form and has four years remaining on his contract — few players of his caliber ever become available with so much time remaining on their deals.
According to reports, Durant's top two trade destinations are the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat. However, both have complications that make a deal tougher.
The NBA has a rule that prohibits teams from acquiring two players on Designated Rookie extensions through a trade. The Designated Rookie rule allows teams to sign players on their rookie contracts to five-year extensions rather than four.
The Nets already have one such player in Ben Simmons, who signed a five-year, $177 million extension in 2019 while a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.
That rule is now making it more complicated for Brooklyn to find trade partners. The Heat, for example, cannot send Bam Adebayo to Brooklyn for Durant because the 6-foot-9 big man signed a Designated Rookie extension with Miami. Meanwhile, the Suns also cannot include Devin Booker in a trade with the Nets. (Booker signed another extension on Thursday, which means he can't be traded for a year, anyway).
According to ESPN, the rule prohibiting teams from trading for two Designated Rookie Extension players takes the following players off the table:
Michael Porter Jr.
Not all of those players would theoretically be available. The Celtics and Mavericks, for instance, wouldn't trade Doncic and Tatum, 23- and 24-year-old superstars, respectively, for a 34-year-old Durant.
Yet some could have been useful trade fodder.
The Nets could trade Simmons if they really wanted one of these players, but it makes little sense for Brooklyn. The Nets acquired the three-time All-Star in the James Harden trade. Trading Simmons in order to trade an MVP candidate in Durant, just to acquire one of the aforementioned players is an unlikely outcome, to say the least.
The rule makes things more complicated for the Nets. According to reports, Brooklyn is willing to work with Durant to find a trade to a destination he likes. However, the Heat can't put together as compelling of an offer if Adebayo is off the table. The Suns can put together a strong offer without Booker, but perhaps not the best offer.
Unless Durant agrees to go to another team or the Nets want to get a trade done as quickly as possible, it likely means the Nets will have to include a third team, or perhaps even a fourth, to get a trade done.
It may even be in the Nets' interest to involve more teams, as it's a chance to get a broader range of assets. It also means getting a deal done around arguably the league's best player could take longer.
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