Why the Warriors can no longer acquire Kevin Durant despite previously being in the mix

Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors

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The Golden State Warriors can no longer realistically acquire Kevin Durant despite being one of the teams in the running before the season began.

OK, so, sure, the Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors could technically pull off a trade that sends Kevin Durant back to California and Klay Thompson to Brooklyn. But would that ever be something the Warriors agree to? Absolutely not.

Before the season began, the Warriors were rumored as a team that was, at the very least, considering Durant given his availability in trade scenarios. Durant later patched things up with the Nets following his trade request and publicly took himself off the market.

Now, the “vultures are gonna circle,” on Durant again according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe in light of all the turmoil going on in Brooklyn. Star guard Kyrie Irving is suspended due to a tangled mess where he shared a movie with anti-Semitic themes and refused to outright say he isn’t anti-Semitic. Head coach Steve Nash stepped down and Ime Udoka — involved in a scandal of his own with the Boston Celtics just months ago — is stepping into his shoes.

Yeah, given that Durant already wanted out before the season began, it’s tough to believe he wouldn’t relish the opportunity to escape Brooklyn now.

So, since the Warriors were involved before, why not now?

Jordan Poole contract extension greatly limits Warriors trade flexibility

When Durant was available before, Jordan Poole had not yet signed his four-year, $140 million contract extension signed in mid-October just before the regular season began.

Now that he has signed that extension, he has a poison pill provision. The Warriors, if they were to trade him, have an outgoing number of $3.9 million, while the incoming number for the Nets would be $26.3 million, a wide range. You can’t easily sell something with a $22.4 million value differential.

There is virtually no fair trade for the Warriors to consider that doesn’t involve Poole since other players are not tradeable. Andrew Wiggins can not be traded this year.

Since the Nets and Warriors are both taxpaying teams, the maximum amount of salary they can take in a trade is 125% (plus $100,000) of what they send out. So if the Warriors were to send out Draymond Green ($25.8 million) and Poole ($3.9 million) they could only take back $37.23 million. Durant’s incoming is $44.1 million.

Let’s say the Nets throw in James Wiseman. Well, that wouldn’t work for the Nets, because they can only take in $55.23 million. The combo of Green, Poole, and Wiseman equates to $61.7 million.

It would take a wildly creative trade for the Nets and Warriors to get a deal done. Undoubtedly, they’d probably need a third team, and for such a team there is unlikely to be much value available in exchange for their participation.

Dreams of Durant returning to Golden State and saving the season have been killed.

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