Why Warriors-Kevin Durant trade reunion would be irrational, delusional

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Why Warriors, KD reuniting would be irrational, delusional originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Anytime Kevin Durant is available in trade, it’s rational that every front office in the NBA would take inventory. Examine the roster. Study the financials. Visualize the present and the future. And, finally, decide whether to engage.

For many teams, chasing Durant would make perfect sense. The Warriors are not one of those teams.

Durant reportedly made his preferred destinations clear a few days ago when he met with Nets CEO Joe Tsai. He wanted out of Brooklyn. Atop his list, per multiple reports, were the Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat. There might be a third and fourth and fifth and sixth team, but there is nothing that indicates KD is dreaming of a reunion with the Warriors.

Except a new report Sunday morning suggests the Warriors "have interest" in a trade for Durant.

If he does wish to return to the Bay, the Warriors have one question to ask and answer: Are we ready to mortgage the future to which we’ve so deeply committed?

Though they obviously would not break up their established core – Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson – there is no question that the Warriors have enough valuable assets to make the deal. The Nets likely would jump at the chance to obtain Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins to begin with, along with James Wiseman and Jonathan Kuminga.

Wiggins is 27, Poole 23, Wiseman 21 and Kuminga 19. Those four players, as of now, represent the core of the 2026-27 Warriors, when Steph will be 39, and Draymond and Klay will be 37. KD will be 38.

As alluring as Durant is – he’s a top-25 all-time talent – it would require an utterly delusional U-turn for the Warriors to make such a deal.

Nearly every move the Warriors have made since November 2020, when they drafted Wiseman at age 19, has been with perpetuation in mind. They know the core is aging, and they want to be prepared when they age out.

So, they ignored the pleas last summer to maximize Steph’s window or risk wasting his gifts – to use lottery picks as bait to chase a big-name veteran in trade.

Rather, the Warriors took a more sustainable approach. They kept their picks and put their millions in player development. They aimed high, luring Jama Mahlalela from the Toronto Raptors and Dejan Milojević from Serbia, both of whom are highly regarded in coaching circles. Jama was put in charge of the PD program, and “Deckie” was put in charge of big men Kevon Looney and, most acutely, Wiseman.

The results, coming off two non-playoff seasons, spoke loudly.

With a mongrel roster of established veteran winners, new vets seeking success, unproven talents and scrappy vagabonds out to prove the belonged, the Warriors defied logic and won an NBA championship. Their fourth title in eight seasons.

“This one culminated in three years,” team president and general manager Bob Myers said recently. “It wasn't just one year; it was like a three-year attempt to win it again. So, it wasn't just like we started the year, and we were good the last year and the year before. It was like a three-year journey out of the ashes to get to the top, which there's a lot of stories in there.”

The biggest of those stories is that “the others” were essential to reaching the top. Wiggins played at All-Star level and peaked in the postseason. Poole flashed star ability. Looney had his healthiest and most productive season. Gary Payton II evolved from fringe player to impact player. Otto Porter Jr. had a bounce-back year, and rookies Moses Moody and Kuminga also contributed.

The Warriors won it all with Wiseman watching the entire season from the sideline and Andre Iguodala doing more coaching than playing.

RELATED: Like Warriors, Nets learn all about KD's restless soul

The youth movement, which justifiably nudged the Warriors from the role of preseason favorites, or even co-favorites, did not prevent prosperity.

To abandon it now for a second act with KD would be indicative of capricious leadership. It would reverse the progress they’ve made for a trip to Venus under the harshest of spotlights.

The Warriors, with their current vision, can’t fathom such a thing. And that’s before they bother to look at the abysmal list of free agents they’d have to choose from to complete the roster.

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