Actually, the Kevin Durant trade is the worst in Arizona sports history

The state of Arizona is on a week-long bender internet hosting the Tremendous Bowl and Phoenix Open, and now getting information of the blockbuster commerce for Kevin Durant.

One of many biggest NBA gamers of all time is suiting up with the Phoenix Suns.

That’s not simply information – that’s free beer and rum on faucet for each sports activities fan within the Valley. That’s a bacchanal that received’t be seeing straight for the following a number of weeks.

That’s why I’m right here. I’m your designated driver.

Analysts love the Kevin Durant commerce

Somebody wants to remain sober whereas all of the Kevin Durant pleasure strikes from hoopla to hype to cultural takeover.

“Phoenix is on fireplace proper now,” Charles Barkley stated.

The oddsmakers in Las Vegas are selecting the Suns to win the NBA Western Convention and problem the Boston Celtics or Milwaukee Bucks for the title.

A lot to be taught:New Suns proprietor Mat Ishbia’s trial by fireplace

All throughout sports activities media, analysts are handing out As and A-pluses to the Suns for electrifying the league with their spectacular commerce.

That’s not the letter grade I give the hometown crew. I give them an “F” and never for “failed.”

For “faceplant.”

It could be the worst commerce in Arizona historical past

Brooklyn Nets ahead Kevin Durant (7) reacts towards the Philadelphia 76ers throughout the first half of an NBA basketball recreation Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021, in New York.

This can be the worst commerce in Arizona sports activities historical past, and that’s a really excessive bar.

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That is town that traded pitcher Max Scherzer and three different gamers to the Detroit Tigers for Ian Kennedy and Edwin Jackson. You might have heard of Scherzer. He went on to win three Cy Younger Awards, pitch two no-hitters and win a World Sequence.

What {qualifications} do I – an editorial web page columnist – have to evaluate the Suns commerce?

I’ll present you my {qualifications}: Fifty years of struggling. Fifty years of watching Arizona arenas change into the Leisure World for ageing superstars.

We’ve accomplished this so many instances earlier than it has change into nearly seasonal, the factor we do together with Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We roast the turkey, we grasp the mistletoe and we signal a beyond-his-prime sports activities legend to experience his final massive contract into the sundown.

We’ve a protracted line of past-prime superstars

The Arizona Cardinals did this with Emmett Smith, the good Dallas Cowboys working again. He got here right here when he was 33. He retired at age 35. In between he broke his shoulder blade.

J.J. Watt, the hulking defensive lineman with the Houston Texans turned a Cardinal at 32. He retired at 33. He was injured a lot of the time he was right here.

In 2011, the Cardinals signed Todd Heap, an excellent NFL tight finish. His tank was practically empty. He performed two-injury plagued seasons earlier than he was launched in 2012.

The Arizona Diamondbacks signed World Sequence legend Madison Bumgarner previous his prime for $85 million. He has by no means returned to his former glory.

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Some will say, what about Charles Barkley? He performed a whole lot of good years in Philadelphia, then got here to Phoenix and reworked the Suns. Charles Barkley was 29 when he got here to Phoenix. He retired with the Houston Rockets at 36.

Kevin Durant is 34. He has a current historical past of accidents and lots of missed video games. Although paired not too long ago with two different superstars, he was not capable of get the Brooklyn Nets past the Japanese Convention playoffs. The Brooklyn triad was a bust.

Phoenix Suns have mortgaged their future

On Thursday, we discovered the Phoenix Suns traded Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder and unprotected first-round picks in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029 for the famous person Durant and former Suns draft decide T.J. Warren, who has been harm inclined his whole NBA profession.

Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson have been distinctive draft-day additions. Each have soared nicely above expectations. At age 26, with many prime years to go and maturity nicely past their years, each are cornerstones you’ll be able to construct a crew upon.

They not solely carry out at a excessive stage, however they assist set the tone within the locker room. They’re invaluable athletes and distinctive human beings, and to grasp how deeply their loss is felt within the Suns group, watch the clip of Suns coach Monty Williams talk about their departure.

He does so with actual disappointment: “These two are close to and expensive to my coronary heart. They actually are like my household.”

4 unprotected first-round draft picks? Speak about residing for as we speak and the long run be damned.

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Now we’ve neither protection nor depth

These are the costs you pay for a 28-year-old Durant, not an injury-prone 34-year-old.

The Phoenix Suns are one tendon tear from auctioning off their subsequent decade. If Durant declines rapidly like Heap and Watt and Baumgartner, the Suns might be far diminished from what they have been earlier than the commerce.

Many say it’s a must to go for it when a championship window opens. But when the Suns have discovered something over their final two years of success, the NBA playoffs are an endurance check. You higher go along with protection and depth.

The Suns now have neither. They could treatment that within the free market, however why are we to consider that Durant, Devin Booker and Chris Paul (not even the identical Chris Paul he was two years in the past) will fare higher than Durant and Kyrie Irving and James Harden?

I hope I am mistaken about all of this

This isn’t a screed in regards to the new Suns proprietor, Mat Ishbia. He’s a extremely achieved athlete and businessman with a ardour for NBA basketball. I like that he’s the brand new proprietor. However I feel he made a rookie mistake.

If I’m mistaken and the Durant-led Phoenix Suns hoist the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, I’ll gladly eat this column with the identical enthusiasm and tangy barbecue sauce that Billy Bob Thornton used to eat the Massey prenup. (See Cohen Brothers, “Insupportable Cruelty”.)

However I’m not mistaken.

I’m 50 years of chilly, laborious Arizona sports activities actuality staring you within the face. And I’ve obtained the keys to your automotive.

Phil Boas is an editorial columnist with The Arizona Republic. He might be reached at

This text initially appeared on Arizona Republic: Kevin Durant to Phoenix Suns is the worst commerce in Arizona historical past