Grade the Trade: Warriors bring back Durant at a high cost in wild 3-team pitch

The Golden State Warriors will consider every move this offseason. Could they really pull off this wild 3-team trade to bring Kevin Durant back to town?
Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors / Hannah Foslien/GettyImages
2 of 3

Laying out a Kevin Durant trade

Trading for Kevin Durant will not be an easy task, as the Golden State Warriors have to shed enough salary so as to get under the luxury tax apron. If they don't, they cannot stack (or aggregate) multiple player contracts to trade for Durant's. That would mean to add Durant they would have to send out Stephen Curry, and that obviously isn't happening.

That difficulty was recently taken on by Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey, who built a blockbuster 3-team trade to illustrate what it would take to bring Kevin Durant to the Warriors. If the Warriors were to jettison salary outside of the trade it's possible to build a deal directly between the two teams, but adding a third team with cap space allows the Warriors to decrease their salary in the trade itself.

That also means the cost to not only add an All-NBA player and Top-20 player of all time is high, but it gets higher when you add a third team. Would the Warriors be comfortable paying that cost? Let's look at the specifics and analyze the deal from all angles.

Here is the proposed trade framework:

Durant Warriors 3-team trade

For the Orlando Magic, they use their cap space to essentially absorb the contract of Chris Paul. While the Magic likely have high hopes for that cap space, the reality is that premier guard help isn't on the free agent market this summer. They could pursue it via trade, in which case Paul's expiring contract could be useful, or they could pursue help next summer in free agency, at which point Paul's money will be off the books and the cap space wil be reset. In the meantime, they get a proven floor general who will make their young core better.

For the Phoenix Suns, it's a major gamble moving on from Durant so soon after acquiring him. The impetus for this deal would likely need to be a conversation between Durant and owner Matt Ishbia; it's unlikely the organization decides to move him otherwise. If that happens, however -- and Durant is no stranger to those conversations -- is this the right kind of deal for Durant?

Phoenix will likely need to aim at staying competitive next season given the draft picks they owe and their team structure, but even with Durant they barely made it to the No. 6 seed and were swept in the first round. This deal injects some much-needed youth onto the roster, with Jonathan Kuminga on a trajectory to be a future All-Star and Brandin Podziemski a First Team All-Rookie selection. Kevon Looney is an upgrade at backup center, while Houstan is a flier as a bench shooter.

Added on top are a trio of draft picks to restock the cupboard for the Suns, and which they can use to pivot and go after another key contributor.

It's a big ask for both teams, but let's assume for the moment that both would say yes. Do the Warriors pull the trigger on such a bold reunion?