Why the Phoenix Suns need to figure out how to land Kevin Durant | Opinion

Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones needs to go get Kevin Durant.

Durant, the 12-time All-Star and two-time NBA Finals MVP, says he wants out of Brooklyn and that Phoenix is one of the places he wants to go.

There are plenty of reasons to think a deal to acquire Durant doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in the desert of working. Every last one of them should be ignored.

Durant is one of the greatest scorers in the history of the sport, and he’s got strong relationships with Devin Booker and Monty Williams.

When a guy of this caliber says he wants to come to your city, you figure it out. If Bobby Flay says he wants to cook you dinner, you don’t complain that you don’t have fine china. You break out the paper plates and plastic forks.

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If Halle Berry says she wants to come to your place to watch Netflix and chill, you don’t tell her that you live in a van down by the river. You go to the carwash, charge your iPad and find a scenic place to park.

And if your neighbor gives you the keys to his Lamborghini for the weekend, you don’t tell him that you’re a bad driver. You go get a pair of aviator glasses and some of those leather gloves with the holes in the knuckles, then you hit Route 66.

Kevin Durant has said Phoenix and Miami are his preferred trade destinations.
Kevin Durant has said Phoenix and Miami are his preferred trade destinations.

Trade Ayton? Mortgage the future?

The skeptics will say that losing Deandre Ayton, which would be essential for a trade to land Durant, represents mortgaging the future.

And they’ll be right.

Jones should do the deal anyway.

The core of Booker, Ayton and Chris Paul is good enough to get to the NBA Finals. It’s not good enough, as constituted, to win a title. Without making Ayton the center of the offense, the Suns roster will always wait in the wings.

If Phoenix isn’t willing to rework the entire system to make Ayton into the next Giannis Antetokounmpo or Joel Embiid or Anthony Davis, then they’ll never maximize him. (This would be a shame. The young fella has that type of talent.)

Also, it might be true that it would be better to have Ayton than Durant in four years, but that assumes too much to be a guarantee. Ayton won’t be able to develop into that kind of force in his current role, and there are too many variables to accurately project that far into the future.

The future, however, is now with a core of Durant, Booker and Paul. That trio can do better than contend for a title. It can win a title.

It’ll be up to the cap gurus to figure out how to make it happen, and it’ll be complicated. Durant makes a lot of money, and the Suns will be tied to him until he’s 37. But Durant is one yoga session from 7 feet tall. Guards get old, but big guys never shrink.

Offensively, Durant will give defenders nightmares of the Slim Reaper until the day he retires. Defensively, he’s far better than he ever gets credit for. There are very few wings in the league who can consistently beat this guy off the dribble in the fourth quarter, and as he gets older, he can slide down to cover power forwards or help on the post in zone defenses.

(Plus, all the new jersey sales will help offset that pesky luxury tax that the Suns would get hit with for going over the salary cap. Durant has been called The Servant, maybe for the way he injects cash, attention and energy into every franchise he joins?)

Jones shouldn’t do the deal without Paul, unless it’s a complete showstopper of a move like landing Damian Lillard along with Durant in a three-team trade.

Are aging stars bright?

NBA fans will say that aging super-teams don’t win titles. They’ll point to last season’s Lakers, the Steve Nash-Dwight Howard-Kobe Bryant Lakers and the Karl Malone-Gary Payton-Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant Lakers as examples.

And they’ll be right.

Jones should do the deal anyway. We don’t worry about the Lakers in Phoenix.

Paul, Durant and Booker is a big three that should scare the Bay-jezus out of Draymond Green, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Who cares that Paul is 37 and Durant is 33?

No one would be more motivated than those two to knock the spice out of Curry. For Durant, there’s the debate over "whose team was it?"

For Paul, his legacy hinges on climbing up Steph for a title. Win, and Paul is in the greatest of all time conversation. Retire without a championship, and his legacy is whether guys like Allen Iverson, John Stockton and Nash can truly be among the elites without winning it all.

Where's Brooklyn at?

The naysayers will point to the reality that Brooklyn didn’t win anything with Durant on the roster.

And they’ll be right.

Jones should do the deal anyway.

Durant was in Brooklyn with guys who couldn’t get to the arena with a pocket full of subway tokens and a train map.

Kyrie Irving missed time for refusing to get vaccinated. James Harden missed games with a bum hamstring. And Ben Simmons hasn’t played in so long, we’ve forgotten what his jumper looks like.

In Phoenix, Durant will be with guys who are harder to get off the floor than the NBA logo — assuming the Suns would keep Booker and Paul. These guys are low-maintenance, and they don’t miss games when they’re healthy.

There are plenty of reasons to think a deal for Kevin Durant wouldn’t work.

James Jones should ignore all of them.

When a guy of this caliber wants to come to your city, you figure it out.

Follow Greg Moore on Instagram and Twitter @SayingMoore.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Kevin Durant wants trade: Why Suns should make a deal