Before Kevin Durant was traded to Phoenix, the Grizzlies made a brazen push to get him to Memphis.
The news comes via ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who had this to say on the matter:
“The Nets have been aware since July that Memphis was ready to trade every pick and swap of its own for Durant, sources said. (The Grizzlies have remained steadfast that Bane, Morant, and Jaren Jackson Jr. are 100% off the table in all talks, sources across the league said.) They didn’t get far. Durant wanted the Suns, and the Nets worked with him to make that happen.”
Trading every pick and pick swap would have been an extreme step to take, even if the Grizzlies managed to land a player of Durant’s calibre while also holding onto their exisiting talent.
Grizzlies general manager Zach Kleiman knew it would have been a big risk to take.
“At any point in time, including this year’s deadline, we were willing to be aggressive to maybe even overly aggressive to get the right player,” he told reporters. “At this deadline, there were several guys where we made offers that — if they were accepted — y’all would have said ‘Wow, you guys went way too far in what you would’ve done there’.
“We have a lot of guys on this roster we believe in. If we’re able to monetize those draft picks ahead of time — pre-consolidate, if you will — and push them in for someone you really believe to be a part of the core for years to come, we’re all ready.”
Even as currently constructed, the Grizzlies have worked their way to the second seed in the Western Conference. With Durant, they would have been absolutely terrifying.